The first race of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship was even hotter than expected in sizzling Abu Dhabi on March 11 & 12. Mike Goulian and Team 99 celebrated an exciting 5th place finish and are looking forward to another heart-pumping race season.
“It was a long race week in Abu Dhabi. The team is pleased with the outcome. We qualified 3rd [on Friday] and finished 5th in the race today [Saturday]. We came up against Hannes Arch in the Round of 8 and he flew the best time that he flew all week. We laid down a great time, 59.449 seconds – but he was 0.72 seconds faster than us. We have a great team and a great plane. We are super pumped, full of energy, and we are in the championship hunt. Thanks to everyone back home, fans, friends, sponsors and family,” reports Team Goulian.
The racing took place over the Arabian Gulf’s sparkling blue waters, with fans witnessing all the action from the purpose-built race village on the Corniche breakwater.
Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), Matthias Dolderer (GER) and Francois Le Vot (FRA) took home the top 3 finishes in the race at Abu Dhabi. Ivanoff blazed through the pylons to victory in a close and frequently astonishing competition.
Claiming the early lead in what’s setting up to be an especially fierce title battle, Ivanoff’s time of 58.550 was barely a tenth of a second faster than Matthias Dolderer of Germany in second place (58.660). François Le Vot of France, who is beginning only his second season and was ranked 14th in 2015, captured his first career podium with 1:02.281 for third place.
With the retirement of 2015 World Champion Paul Bonhomme, the 2016 title for the world’s ultimate motorsport series in the sky is anyone’s to seize, and the heat was on. The day was packed with shocks: Matt Hall of Australia, who was ranked number one after finishing second overall last year, hit a pylon and failed to advance beyond the opening round for only the third time in his career. Another top favorite, 2008 World Champion Hannes Arch, gave fans a similar surprise after flying brilliantly through the early rounds only to earn a disqualification in the Final 4 for passing the Safety Line. Arch finishes the race in Abu Dhabi without any points, due to his DQ result.
Mike Goulian and Team 99 are currently ranked 5th with 5 Championship points going into the next race in Spielberg, Austria on April 23 – 24th.
Follow this link to get even more information on Michael Goulian and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.