Mike Goulian • September 14, 2018
At the fifth stop of the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship on August 26, Massachusetts native Michael Goulian stood on the podium in Kazan, Russia for the second year in a row, boosting himself from number two overall back to the lead position he had originally claimed with a season-opening victory in February. Next, one more European race remains before Team Goulian heads home to the USA for the final two stops on the calendar: It is a showdown in Wiener Neustadt, Austria that takes off this weekend.
“I love the way our team has come together on the road this year. We’re having a great time together, and it shows in our results,” says Goulian, who has been the World Championship’s most consistent pilot in 2018 with Final 4 appearances right across the five races so far, and podiums in all but one of them.
Team Goulian’s next destination on the road, Wiener Neustadt, brings the Red Bull Air Race back to its Austrian roots, but in a new location after previous stops in Zeltweg and Spielberg across the 15-year history of the sport. Historically, airplanes began taking off from Wiener Neustadt’s grassy terrain over a century ago, making it the oldest official airfield in the country and the oldest natural airfield in Europe.
As the first race of 2018 with a track over land instead of water, as well as the first with a standing (static) start, the Austrian stop offers the 14 international race teams a valuable opportunity to adjust and gather analysis data before speeding into this fall’s climactic speedway races at Indianapolis and Fort Worth.
For much of the season, Goulian has been neck-and-neck with Australia’s Matt Hall for the overall lead, but Czech pilot Martin Šonka has also thrown himself into the mix, and Goulian now heads the standings with 55 points to 49 each for Šonka and Hall.
“Obviously, a lot of people are asking us about being in the lead, but I’m just focused on our process and sticking to the plan,” says a calm and confident Goulian. “For this race, the focus is to keep doing what we’re doing.”
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Copyright Whelen Engineering Co, Inc 2017