McLeod keeping the momentum

The competition in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship is as tough as it's ever been. Pete McLeod knows how to fight during a race weekend and can never be accused of giving anything less than 100%. His third place finish in Abu Dhabi is testament to that. But he knows he's got his work cut out for the rest of the season.

"I'm really pleased with the result, any podium finish is a very strong finish," said McLeod. "But I didn't leave Abu Dhabi with any sense of overconfidence that's for sure," he added.

McLeod had concerns about his engine during Abu Dhabi, and not being able to work on it between now and Chiba means he's had to make a difficult decision over what to do with his power plant. "We're still not happy with the motor," explained McLeod. "But rather than pull it out of the airframe and try to have it reworked on, we've taken a gamble and we're going to try and run it in Japan and Croatia and try to see if there's any more power available.

"We had a short offseason, and being in Canada we don't have the option of flying the aircraft for four or five hours everyday. The engine didn't have nearly enough time on the dyno before we got it, so it might not have been broken in fully, we have only put about nine hours on the motor. So all things considered, it's a bit of a long shot and we're not overly confident that we're going to gain any significant power," said McLeod.

As could be spotted in Abu Dhabi, McLeod has added new wingtips to his Edge. But due to his engine being underpowered he still needs to gather more data to see how well they are actually working. "The wingtips are only a small modification, so the gains won't be too great – which makes it harder to see how they're performing, but what we've got so far is promising," said McLeod, adding: "I think we'll continue to see a dance between our old and new wingtips for a little while. They will work differently on different tracks, but we'll have to see."

Looking towards Chiba and the rest of the season, McLeod knows that he has to continue to make changes to his aircraft in an attempt to improve his times: "I've never made it a secret that my strategy of modifications is one based on development and data. I don't make a change on a whim or do something to look cool or get attention. We've got things in the pipeline that are coming along," said McLeod.

As to whether or not the changes would be ready by Chiba, McLeod was cagey, but admitted that he's looking forward to Japan: "It's my first visit and I'm excited about it.

"I love being in the racetrack. I get excited when it's just a couple of weeks between races, so I'll be climbing the walls to get back in the track after this break." he concluded.

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