Series points leader Matthias Dolderer conquered his nerves and the testing, unseasonably autumn-like flying conditions to claim his second victory of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2016 in Budapest, Hungary.
A weather pattern of high winds, heavy rain and low temperatures that settled over the Hungarian capital for the duration of the weekend caused significant delays and cancellations of fying, including Saturday's qualifying session.
When the weather broke long enough for one round of flying to take place on Sunday however, the German delivered a sensational flight to claim the win over Hannes Arch and Matt Hall.
After a poor run during the Round of 14, Dolderer was on shaky ground as the slowest qualifier when the weather closed in again over Budapest, putting the entire final at risk. A cancellation would have caused serious damage to his title aspirations.
Luckily, after a long delay the rain and wind slowed enough to allow the Round of 8 head-to-head races to go ahead however, and despite being paired against fastest qualifier Juan Velarde, Dolderer delivered a masterclass of flying in tough conditions.
With time penalties being dished out to three of the eight pilots, flying a fast time was anything but easy, but Dolderer was on another level. Smooth, controlled and very, very fast, he swept through the tight course in a time of 58.653s to not only beat Velarde, but also top Arch's time of 58.942 by almost three hundredths of a second.
The long delays earlier in the day resulted in the event's time limit being reached before the Final Four round could be flown. This meant the result was called and Dolderer claimed his second win of 2016, extending his at the top of the championship standings over Arch, who overtook Kirby Chambliss thanks to his result.
With the championship now at the halfway mark, Dolderer is in a strong position to possibly claim his first ever Red Bull Air Race title.
It was a crazy weekend, and after the first flight today I thought this would be a bad weekend, but it went really well in the second flight.Matthias Dolderer
"It was a crazy weekend, and after the first flight today I thought this would be a bad weekend, but it went really well in the second flight. I'm overall happy," said a delighted Dolderer after being awarded the win. "I'm counting it race by race. I don't care about the lead I have, this is just showing that all our work in the off-season is paying off and at the next race we start at zero."
Red Bull Air Race Budapest final results
1. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 58.653 seconds
2. Hannes Arch (AUT) 58.942
3. Matt Hall (AUS) 59.236
4. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 59.456
5. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 1:01.350
6. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 1:01.689
7. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 1:02.578
8. Juan Velarde (ESP) 1:03.149
Red Bull Air Race World Championship standings after four of eight rounds
1. Matthias Dolderer 41.26 points
2. Hannes Arch 26.00
3. Kirby Chambliss 25.25
4. Yoshihide Muroya 22.50
5. Nicolas Ivanoff 22.00
6. Nigel Lamb 19.75
7. Matt Hall 18.75
8. Martin Šonka 14.00