- Canadian Red Bull Race pilot Pete McLeod, right, came third in the first race of the season behind Hannes Arch, left, and Paul Bonhomme.
Photo by Naim Chidiac
Canadian Red Bull race pilot Pete McLeod had his first-ever podium finish Saturday when he came in third at the Red Bull Race Series opening event in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
McLeod finished behind defending champion Paul Bonhomme, of the U.K and Hannes Arch, of Austria to claim his first top-three finish in the race series.
The strong finish made McLeod the pilot to watch in the series, which resumed this year after a three-year hiatus. As a new pilot with limited sponsorship in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, McLeod struggled with a slower, less agile plane than some of the other better funded teams but new rules this year, including matching engines on all the race planes, have made pilot skills more important than sponsorship and McLeod has risen to the challenge.
McLeod turned heads Friday by beatin both Arch and Bonhomme to take first place in the qualifying round.“It’s exciting to get first today,” McLeod said after his qualifying win. “I felt really good in the track and was really focused. Paul was right there behind me and there were a bunch of other guys close behind too. Some of the other guys after me might have had some misfortune with the wind changing or first race qualifying round jitters.”
The wind swung around during qualifications but McLeod compensated and crossed the finish line in qualifying at 57.932 compared to 58.129 for Bonhomme. Five of the racers behind McLeod clipped pylons during the qualifying race.