A pilot flying past Putrajaya government buildings.
THE humid weather and slight drizzle before the third round of the Master Class Red Bull Air Race World Championship battle on Sunday did not dampen the spirits of fans as they patiently waited for the race to start.
All eyes were fixed on the sky as 12 experienced pilots wowed visitors with their flying skills and precise manoeuvring.
Among the day’s favourites was Austrian’s Hannas Arch, who was leading with 21 points after two events in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Rovinj, Croatia.
Local and international fans were treated to a nail-biting race from the shores of Putrajaya Lake as the pilots executed superb flying skills amid the cloudy skies.
The race began with the Top 12 races and ended with the Super Eight.
Reigning champion, Briton Paul Bonhomme made an early exit after failing to proceed to the Final Four.
He was 0.162 sec slower than Australia’s Matt Hall, who was the fourth fastest in the race.
In the Final Four, British pilot Nigel Lamb raced first and clocked an unbeatable 1:15.023 — the fastest run of the day, to claim victory in the third round of the Master Class
Lamb, who flew his yellow Breitling MXS-R, said it was a great feeling winning the race in Malaysia, especially after touring here as a display pilot for five years earlier.
“The strategy is to balance the speed of the plane while flying the course in a safe manner to avoid penalties.
“There are risks that I need to take and I tried to leverage it carefully.
“I am glad that it finally paid off,” he said, during a press conference near the Putrajaya lake.
It was also an emotional day as he won his first career victory after participating in 44 races in his career, ending a seven-year draught.
Meanwhile, Austria’s Hannes Arch pulled off an action-packed round and grabbed the first runner-up at 1:15.597.
“Despite losing to Lamb, I was happy with my performance here in Malaysia,” said Arch, who is considered one of the best pilots in the race.
Hall emerged as the second runner-up at 1:15.691.
It was a disappointing journey for Canada’s Pete McLeod in the Final Four as he exceeded the maximum speed entry of 370km per hour or 200 knots through the Start Gate, resulting in his flying session classed as Did Not Finish (DNF).
Fans were treated to a series of spectacular air performances during the race intermission with two pilots pulling off various stunts such as flying back to back across the race course as well as a engine-powered paragliding show.
The end of third round of the eight-race world championship saw Arch leading the race with 30 points, followed by reigning champion British Paul Bonhomme with 25 points while Lamb moved to the third placing with 17 points.
The pilots will need to complete five more races in different countries, namely Poland, England, two races in US and the last race will be held in China.
They can win the World Championship points at each race and the one with the most points will be crowned the Red Bull Air Race World Champion.