American Looking for 'Clean' Performance In Austria
American pilot Mike Mangold looks set to secure his second
victory in as many events when he takes part in the Zeltweg Red
Bull Air Race in Austria on Saturday.
Mangold has been in dominant form since collecting the Rotterdam
title two weeks ago and his times in Qualification suggest it will
take an extraordinary performance from one of his rivals to stop
him winning back-to-back.
In his "Dragon" Edge 540, Mangold was nearly 15 seconds faster
than his nearest rival in Thursday's Qualifying Rounds, which
featured five of the nine pilots taking part this weekend.
The remaining four pilots will have their two Qualifying
sessions on Saturday morning ahead of the afternoon's Air Race,
which features as one of the highlights of AirPower05, a leading
European air show.
The Zeltweg track, with its long stretches and smooth, gentle
turns, suits Mangold's fast aircraft. But as he readily admits,
this advantage also brings with it extra pressure to perform.
"I'm not surprised to be in front, because the course is more
even and less vertical than usual - it lends itself to a faster
aeroplane," explains Mangold. "But one can lose that very quickly
owing to the time penalty system.
"I am surprised to be in front by quite so much but I think the
margin will come down when the other pilots qualify. I am feeling a
little extra pressure because I'd like to stay on top."
Germany's Klaus Schrodt and American Kirby Chambliss will also
be flying Edges during their Qualification on Saturday, though it
remains to be seen whether Chamblis' two-seater performs as
Either way, it looks likely Mangold will again be setting the
pace and the other competitors may have to rely on him failing to
produce a 'clean' run without any time penalties.
"Mike may have to incur quite a time few penalties for us to
catch him," admitted Englishman Paul Bonhomme, who finished second
in Thursday's Qualifying.
The Zeltweg Red Bull Air Race is the third leg of the
seven-event 2005 World Series.