Quotes of the weekend: Red Bull Air Race Budapest

Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service Team

Hungary, 23-24 June 2018


Pioneering Red Bull Air Race pilot (retired) and Hall of Fame member
“Budapest is an absolutely amazing location and I’m happy the city can host the Red Bull Air Race again. It’s a lovely town in the middle of Europe, and a very nice background with all the historical buildings. It’s very special to fly in the downtown, over the river, and especially to approach the racetrack under the very old and historic Chain Bridge. It’s a real opportunity for the pilots.”

Austria’s three-time Olympic Champion in ski jumping
“I’ve been at the Red Bull Air Race before, but this is the first time for me in Budapest. While I’m a pilot myself and got my commercial pilot license for helicopters this year, I only started my pilot career with fixed-wing aircraft in 2008. Still, that helps me understand what these pilots are doing, and it was impressive yesterday during Qualifying: the flying under the bridge and over the Danube, and the atmosphere and the buildings in the background – quite impressive.”JIM DIMATTEO
Race Director of the Red Bull Air Race
“We’re super excited to be here, even though we’ve been here many, many years. It’s one of the most iconic places, literally, in the world, and I’m not sure that we’ve ever raced in a place that’s more beautiful than the scenery we get here. With that said, it’s a small area to race a Red Bull Air Race. We have the two riverbanks, the two bridges, we have the approach underneath the Chain Bridge to start the race, and we have 24 gates out there, so it’s a very, very fast pace and a very challenging racecourse – super exciting. Thank you to all the people from Hungary and from Budapest who have allowed us and helped us to put together this race.”

Master Class pilot, first place Budapest 2018, currently third place overall
“It’s incredible. It’s definitely a home race for us. There was huge energy from the crowd coming into the cockpit the whole race, and I can tell you it’s a beautiful view from the top of the podium. I love it every time. It’s very important, because this is the middle of the season and it was crucial to stay in contact with the top pilots. We’ve had a lot of tech issues, and every member of the team was working hard for this moment. Budapest is a unique venue and because so many Czech fans are here, it’s very special to be able to give them this gift.”

Master Class pilot, second place Budapest 2018 (career-first race podium in the World Championship)
“The feeling is really good. We were targeting the Final 4 for so long now and were getting closer and closer. The team performance and team spirit was amazing in the way we have been approaching our goals. And today: the Final 4, podium, second place. What else? I remember my first podium in Fort Worth as a Challenger Class pilot, here it’s the same, even better! We were aiming for this for more than a season, and we knew that we could do it, but now we have achieved it and that will be with us forever, so it’s a good feeling.”

Master Class pilot, third place Budapest 2018, current overall leader
“It’s been a stressful week for us. We’ve had a few things go wrong, but the team pulled everything together. We were still doing engine runs on the plane this morning, so as I say, it’s been stressful. This was [Michael] Goulian’s fourth Final 4 in a row, so that’s good consistency. I was trying not to let World Championship tactics get in my flying today, but when I heard his time, I decided to be conservative and just beat him, not try and worry about the other two. That might turn out to be a mistake with Martin Šonka later in the year, but at least it pushes Mikey down a couple of points behind me.”

Master Class pilot, currently second place overall
“Flying in Budapest – underneath the Chain Bridge, climbing up into the start gate, and adjusting your speed – it’s surreal. It’s so amazing you can’t explain it. It’s just such a euphoric feeling, especially when you’re in the hold and you’re diving down and you know the bridge is coming, and you’re adjusting and you’re watching and the race is starting and your heart is going… It’s magic, and it’s a magic that only Budapest can create. Starting the year, if you told me that I was going to be in the Final 4 four times in a row, I would have thought that you were crazy. So although I am definitely disappointed with not being on the podium [in Budapest], you can’t complain about the Final 4. We have a long-term view, and that is to try to win this World Championship. Matt [Hall] and I distanced ourselves even further today from the rest of the field, so that’s a good thing.”

Master Class pilot
“I’m really happy with my result. I’ve been consistent and I was growing in confidence, and then everything went down slightly. I was counting on better weather conditions, because handling this raceplane with the new modifications is different and I couldn’t practice that before I entered the track. But I’m happy.”

Master Class pilot
“It was an amazing race. Budapest has a strong connection with the Red Bull Air Race, and everyone feels that way. It’s almost magical to be able to fly in the middle of the town and under the Chain Bridge. We are happy and have done an amazing job this week. Every time we put the plane in the track, we cut our time, and that takes a team effort. So good job guys, thank you! We wanted to be in the Final 4, but it’s great for us to be sixth.”

Master Class pilot
“It’s always nice to be in Budapest for the race. It’s the spirit of the race. It’s the first time in a long time that I went through to the Round of 8, so I got some points. It’s not a big one, but at least it’s some points. We have to find why I’m so slow, but we’re on the right track and we can start taking steps forward.”

Master Class pilot
“It was fantastic here this week: a lot of firsts and obviously flying under the Chain Bridge. We got through to the Round of 8 again and that’s in 50 percent of our races so far, so we’re very happy. We got more points on the championship board and just the experience of getting through to the Round of 8 again is a massively valuable learning experience for us. The plane is performing well, the team is performing well, and we’ll just carry on with the way we’re going.”

Master Class pilot
“We were super excited after Qualifying and we knew we could fly faster, and the track got even faster today. I heard a lot of over-Gs and I heard Nicolas [Ivanoff’s] time was not the fastest one. I knew I did not have to push really hard, so I think I relaxed too much, which was not the plan. But it happened again: we have 9th place, which is super disappointing for our team. However, we have to get up and get ready for Kazan. We are taking the raceplane back to the Czech Republic and the big modifications are coming up after this race, and I think we’ll get even faster and stronger for the next stop. I have to try to fly more with the airplane and try to get the VTMs [Vertical Turning Maneuvers] tighter.”

Master Class pilot, two-time titleholder
“Lady Luck has to be on your side, and we’re not seeing it this year. So where is it? Let’s feel some love here. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot I can change. I flew really well. We were fast. I am so disappointed. I’m disappointed for myself, I’m disappointed for my team. They’ve worked really hard. In this race in particular we’ve had some problems to overcome and they took care of that and the plane is running well.”

Master Class pilot, defending Red Bull Air Race World Champion
“This is really a great venue and iconic. We do not have this kind of race location other than Budapest, so it’s very, very special for the pilots and the public also. Here, you’re flying in the middle of the town and go under the bridge and fly in front of Parliament. And this is an original place that the Red Bull Air Race comes from. The flight was quite smooth until over-G-ing. We had a good Qualifying and good Free Practice, so we were kind of confident to go through. But after the pullout I felt a strong wind shear gusting, and I tried to react in time to get control, but I couldn’t get it in time. We are not going to change any tactics. In this race the over-G [“exceeding maximum G” penalty] was an unlucky gust we got, that’s it. So we will stick with our plan and just go for the last four races.”

Master Class pilot
“We have a lot of energy, a lot of speed on this track. I’m really disappointed because I feel like I shouldn’t have been handed an over-G [“exceeding maximum G” penalty]. If you had asked me two days ago, I had a great race the last time I was here, a great taste in my mouth after 2017. After today, in four races we’ve got two exits in the Round of 14 for over-Gs, so the [2018] results are not great.”

Master Class pilot
“This track is very fast, it’s very straight, so we don’t have any high-G turn to slow down the raceplane before the Vertical Turning Maneuver – that’s why we have to manage the Gs. It’s been an issue all weekend and almost everyone has had over-Gs. I think I played my cards well. I’ve been flying smoothly, but my game plan was to be aggressive, because yesterday I didn’t pull enough Gs and you have to risk – like in every motorsport, if you play conservative you will lose. So my strategy was to be aggressive, but I pushed it, and now I have to wait for Kazan. I’ve had two zeros so far this year and that’s not good, but there are still four races to go and that’s a lot of points, so I look ahead and prepare for the next race.”

Master Class pilot, 2016 World Champion
“I didn’t feel this well this week. Especially flying in the racetrack, you need to be 100 percent fit – this is what I want and this is not the case, so we took the decision not to race here. We are already preparing for the next race in Kazan, so it’s not anything major, we just are not 100 percent yet.”

Challenger Class Pilot, 1stplace in the Challenger Class race at Budapest 2018
“It’s been a while – Abu Dhabi was my last race, so almost six months without flying a track. I missed it! My run [on Race Day] felt almost perfect, maybe one or two turns that were a little bit crude, but 1:01s for the Challenger Class is a stunning result and not far from some of the Master Class times, so I’m super happy with it. I changed my Vertical Turning Maneuver, which was a risk, but it worked.”

Two-time Challenger Cup winner, 2ndplace in the Challenger Class race at Budapest 2018
“It was a nice week flying these machines in a beautiful racetrack in the middle of the city. I liked my flying today, but today I only had 8.9G in the VTM [Vertical Turning Maneuver], and I should have pulled a little bit more. I talked to Luke [winner Luke Czepiela], and he had 9.9G, so one more G, and I think that made the difference in the end. But I’m happy to be second.”

Challenger Class Pilot, 3rd place in the Challenger Class race at Budapest 2018 (career-first race podium)
“I’m so happy to have this happen at home. It’s really what I wanted to do, flying clean and making no mistakes, and I’m very glad that I could do that step by step with every flight, with my best time on Race Day. For the future I want to do the same – and faster.”

Challenger Class Pilot“I feel very disappointed because I stalled a lot in the VTM [Vertical Turning Maneuver], and it’s the first time it happened to me this week, which is a bit strange. But well done to Luke [Czepiela] – he was really, really fast, so it was a good job for him and Flo [Bergér]. I’m also happy for Daniel [Genevey] because it’s his first podium and I know how hard it is to get one. I’ll be racing in Kazan. I will check the points, but I think, for me, the championship is finished. Anyway I will try as hard as possible to win.”

Challenger Class Pilot
“The track is very fast. Everything is coming faster and faster and faster. So I like it very much. What is also very good is to fly in Budapest, inside the city, on the Danube and in front of the Parliament. It’s just amazing. I think it’s one of the best. It’s just unique to fly here. I think I made a very good flight and I was happy about this. No mistake, and I didn’t get any penalties all week, so I’m very happy, which was my goal. I have to offer big congratulations to Luke [Czepiela]. His run was beautiful and he showed that Flo [Bergér] can be beaten, which is good news for the other pilots in the Challenger Class. I’m happy for Daniel [Genevey] to be on the podium as well.”

Challenger Class Pilot
“I really like the new plane, and I’m very comfortable in it. Strategically today it didn’t work out, but we’ll learn from it for the rest of the season. I’ll be racing in the next three races, so I will hopefully be able to build up some consistency and turn the season around.”


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