LIVE BLOG: Red Bull Air Race At Ascot

LIVE BLOG: Red Bull Air Race At Ascot
By Conall Cahill Updated

The world's most exciting aviation race is taking place at one of the world's most historic race courses today. You can watch it here. All the coverage and social media reaction you'll need are below. If you don't know why the Red Bull Air Race is so brilliant, just read this post.

12.40: PREAMBLE --- It's all about to kick off at Ascot today as we'll crown as a master class winner of the Red Bull Air Race. Preliminaries were held yesterday and we're down to 14 planes. We'll be keeping you up to date with all of the thrills and spills from Ascot this afternoon, as well as some of the stuff you might have missed yesterday afternoon.

Here's some amazing footage from Marcus Ramsden of the Red Arrows doing a flyover yesterday.

And here's pilot Nigel Lamb answering some questions about the madness of the race at Ascot this morning.

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Though not everyone is delighted by the sound of the planes in Ascot this morning.

13:01: All ready to go here for the Red Bull Air Race. Round 5 of the World Championship. Spectators are enjoying perfect weather conditions and have already seen three practice sessions, whetting the appetite for the action ahead. Can Dolderer do what he was doing in Budapest before the race had to be stopped due to weather conditions? We'll see very shortly.

13:05: Legendary racer Paul Bonhomme is calling the shots in the studio. It's days like today when he can probably feel the old itch. The three-time Champ thinks Gates 2-3 are vital today. He expects a quick race, but Bonhomme's tip is German Dolderer.

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First up for us is Mike Goulian of the USA

13:09: Great time from Goulian, phenomenal flying, and comes in at 1:05:783, his fastest time of the week. Now he faces an anxious wait to see if McLeod of Canada can better him.

13:10: Pete McLeod has clocked in at 1:05:376, knocking Goulian out in this first heat of the Round of 16. The start was what really set him off, and from there he had flawless execution to score a sweet victory over his US opponent

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13:13: The great British pilot Nigel Lamb goes in his last race on British soil. But emotion can wait. Lamb clocks in at 1:04:251....a TRACK RECORD!! But will he proceed through? Spain's youthful Juan Velarde will be trying to use all his talent to knock out the veteran.

13:16: A 2 second penalty for an incorrect level at Gate 6 puts paid to Velarde's hopes. 1:07:101. It's small errors like that that cost you at this level. #Pressure

13: 20: So it's relief for the home crowd as Lamb and Velarde head through. McLeod says he expected the track to be faster but that he still has hope still of flying again today. A talented young pilot-what a thrill for him to be in the company of the likes of Lamb. But McLeod still has eyes on the prize!

13:22: Lamb admits he was surprised by the margin of victory over McLeod. He's off for a cup of tea before his last 8 race. It's Kopfstein v Ivanoff next.

13:25: 1:05:726 for the Czech. Wow. Given how he's been flying all week, what a time. Over 1.5 seconds faster than he's been all week. Pressure on Ivanoff.

13:28: 1:04:775 for Ivanoff. He's through to the Round of 8 while Kopfstein takes the fastest loser spot. But it's all about one man in Ascot here today...

It's Kirby Chambliss of the States up next. Called the 'veteran Texan' because he is, well, fairly ancient.

13: 33: Chambliss flies over the line with a time of 1:06:179. A fairly slow time, and Chambliss won't be overly pleased. But now let's see if Muroya of Japan can beat it. It's well within his abilities-he was 3rd last year in Ascot.

13:35: Showing the form that so memorably won Muroya his home race in Japan this season...and it's nearly beating Lamb's track record! 1:04:310! Muroya seems the big threat to Lamb so far.

13: 38: Matt Hall from Australia is absolutely flying as well. Thought he was going to get the TR there but 1:04:717 isn't slow at all. Arch up next.

13:41: Surprising result there for Arch, who lies second in the overall standings but loses out here with a time of 1:05:883-Kopfstein still the fastest loser.

13: 45: It's Peter Podlunsek vs Martin Sonka next. Podlunsek, in his first year in the Master's class, lies second last in overall. But complacency from Sonka and there could be a shock....

13:48: 1:07:044 for Podlunsek. Sonka should win this easily.

13:50: Sonka has scraped through! That's why we love this sport. A 2 second penalty (incorrect level) left the Czech scrambling, but he scraped through in 1:06:984. But now he faces a tougher opponent next round, due to his slower time.

13: 54: Le Vot of France delivers a big personal best time of 1:07:615. It's the main man up next, Dolderer. It would be the upset of all upsets if the German slipped up here.

13:56: There's a reason Dolderer is miles ahead at the top of the standings. 1:03:715!! That has well and truly smashed the Track Record...again! He's singing with joy, and it's no wonder why.

Dolderer is interviewed live from his plane. He's dead chuffed. "It doesn't matter who it is", he says of his next opponent. Fighting words. But looks like he faces a mouth-watering clash with Martin Sonka in the next round.

13: 59: So that's the end of the Round of 16. The Round of 8 kicks off at 3:05pm-so go walk the dog, cook dinner, wash your car, do what you have to do. Because there are going to be fireworks this afternoon. Until then, here's Carol Vorderman jumping off a plane.

14:12 Here is the draw for the last 8:

See you in about fifty minutes!

15:01: CONTROVERSY! McLeod and Kopfstein have been disqualified after exceeding the RPM limit in their raceplanes! The new draw is:

Heat 8
Nicolas Ivanoff vs Matt Hall

Heat 9
Michael Goulian vs Yoshihide Muroya

Heat 10
Hannes Arch vs Nigel Lamb

Heat 11
Martin Sonka vs Matthias Dolderer

More info on the disqualifications can be found here.

15:06: Ivanoff's off first. Can he progress against Hall? He's looking good.

15:07: 1:05:693 for Ivanoff. Hall will fancy his chances here as he absolutely flew (ahem) earlier on. Hon the Aussies!

15:10: And it's the final 4 for Hall! 1:04:728. Showing the "consistency you need to win this race," Bonhomme says. Michael Goulian vs Yoshihide Muroya next.

15:12: Goulian is only here because of a DQ. He'll be trying to take advantage of that good fortune. Slow start though.

15:14: 1:04:894. A little nod of the head from Goulian. He pulled out a fine performance but Muroya should still proceed through.

15:16: Muroya's OUT!! Clipped a pylon at Gate 6 and got a three second penalty! Goulian must be the luckiest man in Ascot today. 1:06:874 for Muroya.

15:18: "Unnecessary" clip, Bonhomme says, who thinks the pressure got to Muroya.

15:20: OK. It's Arch versus the great Lamb, the home favourite. Lots of fingernail biting at Ascot.

15:23: It's Germany versus Britain here, and the Germans have set the gauntlet down! 1:04:818-what a time from Arch! Anxiety descends as Lamb heads off.

15:25: Arch is through!! The crowd favourite is out! 1:05:030 for Lamb. It was absolutely agonising watching Lamb edge towards the finish line, but he just quite didn't make it. Arch takes advantage of his good luck-could this be won by someone who only progressed on a DQ?

15:28: A bit of the stuffing has been knocked out of the crowd here with Lamb's exit, but Martin Sonka doesn't care. Clocks 1:04:545, a PB. The pilots are really raising their game here-but the great man himself, Dolderer, is next!

15:32: Extraordinary stuff here! Dolderer has broken the Track Record, again! 1:03:266. Nerves of skill, incredible skill-he really has it all. He looks odds-on to run away with this.

15:35: Lamb is "very disappointed" by his result, but says it felt "amazing" out on the course and is looking forward to coming back to Ascot-to play a bit of golf. Will we see a British pilot like him again? Ben Murphy would say yes.

It's been a great journey and I'm glad I did pretty well on race day...the margins are very small and this is one of those classics when it felt amazing in the track. Then I heard the time. I gave it my all but it just wasn't enough.

15:39: Matt Hall now in his final four run...1:03.426!!! What a time! Over to you, Goulian.

15:41: Conservative flight by Goulian, who looks as if he will be happy to take a medal...but he's been disqualified! Given a DNF for exceeding 10G for longer than 0.6 seconds. The drama!!

15:43: Arch heads off now, guaranteed a podium but the man's a born winner. Will he gun for 1st?

15:45: Arch has thrown it away! He's been given a DNF for course deviation-he missed Gate 3! The whole competition descends into chaos!

15:46: Dolderer up.

15:50: Matt Hall is the winner of the Ascot leg of the Red Bull Air Race 2016!! Dolderer cruises through safely to ensure 2nd place and extend his lead at the top of the Championship standings even further. A bit surprising that Dolderer didn't go for the win, but all he cares about is becoming World Champion. Now, it's his to lose!

15:52: Hall:

We've had a terrible first half of the year and so it feels good to be back on the top step of the podium. When I got the podium in Budapest I said there's nothing stopping us winning every race from here on.

Fighting talk from Hall, who faces an uphill battle to overhaul Dolderer at the top of the World Champ standings.

15:57: So here is how the top of the World Champs leaderboard looks after today's race:

16:02: So, all in all, a dramatic day at Ascot. Thrills, spills, mistakes, and a clinical, born winner gladly accepting second place. It's the sort of drama we've come to expect from the Red Bull Air Race. Lausitzring in Germany is next up on 3rd September as the Air Race roadshow rolls on until its climax in Vegas in October.

 

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