The majority of the Red Bull Air Race pilots say they prefer a technical track as it becomes about the skill rather than how quick their raceplane is. Here in Rovinj they are faced with the most technical track of the season so far. But is it everything they hoped for?
Former two-time World Champion Mike Mangold was first through the gates in Rovinj to test the timing equipment for the race. "It's a lot tighter than expected," was his first observation. "If there is a crosswind, like there was on Thursday, it will have an effect on every gate. The pilots will need to adjust how they attack the track."
Gates 10 and 11 will cause the most issues for the pilots. "The pilots can't fly flat due to the very tight line," said Mangold. "They will have to do quite a lot of vertical manoeuvring. Its not a long track like Chiba and it's going to be easy for the pilots to get confused as all the gates come into view," he added.
The pilots have agreed with Mike Mangold's assertions about the Rovinj track, "10-11 will be tricky," said Juan Velarde. "The wind has made the track confusing and it's difficult to see the crowd line when turning, this gate alone could cost you half-a-second in time if you get it wrong," he added.
Kirby Chambliss agreed: "It's going to be tricky as the wind will make it so different. The crowd line could also cause problems."
Nicolas Ivanoff pointed out why pilots might be finding it difficult: "It's the first Vertical Turn this season that you can't fly flat. I'll have to analyse today's performance and see what I need to do," explained the Frenchman.
With the weather looking to improve and the wind forecast to die down it could create a completely different track, which the pilots will need to re-evaluate again.