McLeod: “There is a Lot of Potential This Season.”
In Abu Dhabi, Pete McLeod was fast – so fast, in fact, that he set the fastest net time on Race Day. But a slight miscalculation saw him fly through Gate 7 at the incorrect level, costing him two seconds in penalties, ultimately bringing his Race Day to an early conclusion.
However, with only one race under his belt so far in the 2019 season, there’s still plenty of time for McLeod and his Cashback World Racing Team to move up the ranks from his current 9th place position all the way to the top. And McLeod has the skill and confidence to do so. “I made a unforced error in Abu Dhabi on Race Day. There was a wind change and I didn’t compensate properly – it can happen – but I’m definitely focused on making less of these type of mistakes,” he said. “Running fast and at the top of pace should help with this, as I shouldn’t have to take quite so much risk to win. In any case, we're only one race in to the season, it’s early and what will be important is to establish a trend of clean flying.”
McLeod was also unlucky in Qualifying when he finished second, and at first glance should have claimed two points. But after a technical inspection of his raceplane, it was revealed that one magneto was over the allowed limit. The Race Committee made the decision not to award the Qualifying points that would normally be awarded in accordance with this placement. It was apparent that the issue was not intentional, and so McLeod's ranking stayed the same. “As a team we will learn from this and put additional inspections in place to try to minimise the risk of the same occurrence in the future,” explained McLeod. “Like all teams, we have to continue to run our equipment and race on the limit of the rules and regulations in order to be competitive. To get it all right, the team needs as much precision off the track as the pilot needs on the track!”
McLeod has a new sponsor onboard for 2019, but he doesn’t see that as adding any extra stress to his racing. “I think the pressure is somehow always there. I’m starting to form a great relationship with Cashback World and happy to have them as a partner. All of my partners are very supportive of me, understand our building approach to success, and that sometimes things don’t always go as planned. That being said, I always like to deliver for my team and sponsors, and fans on Race Day – they all are counting on me. Everyone likes to win!” McLeod exclaimed.
McLeod used to be the gung-ho pilot that would go all0out no matter what. But as he’s gained more experience in the track he’s grown and changed his approach to the series. “I think I’m going to bring a lot of excitement; the hardest part is having to wait so long to get back in the racetrack. But the season is too young for hard targets with overall results – we need another race or two. Of course I want to win, however, I’m focused on taking a race-by-race approach on the track and trying to be better and faster every race. As a team, we have some new faces and systems and we know it will take time and experience to get all systems, expertise, and personalities integrated and running smoothly. I guess you could say I’m more focused on executing the plan then dreaming about the goal… I feel there is lot of potential this season, so I’m very excited to get racing,” McLeod concluded.