Red Bull X-Alps

Red Bull X-Alps 2017: That was Day 6

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relive-the-action-overlay-4000x2250 Day6
 FRA2 170706 VL X-Alps 31
 COM 170707 SM XAlps 1193
 AUT4 170707 SM XAlps 6839
 AUT1 170707 SM XAlps 6741

Relive every step in our recap of the greatest moments; from intense battles and mesmerizing live footage to the athlete’s unique insights. This was Day 6 of Red Bull X-Alps 2017!

This time, let's start with some facts! 

  • Last-placed Claudio Heidel Schemberger (ARG) became the second athlete to be eliminated from the race being in last position
  • Tom de Dorlodot (BEL), Pal Takats (HUN) and Evgenii Griaznov (RUS) violated designated airspaces each received a 48 hours penalty
  • Chrigel Maurer still leads the race a couple of kilometers ahead of Gaspard Petiot 
  • Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) and Rookie Benoit Outters (FRA4) were fighting it out for third place, 70km from Turnpoint 5, Monte Baldo
  • Behind them, a ‘peloton’ of 8 pilots were spread over just 10km, working as a team as they push south in direction Lake Garda 

"I almost went into the lake"

The day almost began with some high drama after Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) came perilously close to landing in Lake Garda. He flew from Monte Baldo first thing, after climbing the peak on a Ledlenser Night Pass, but only just squeezed into a landing spot on the lake’s far shore. 'I almost went into the lake,' He told us. 'But I just avoided it.'

He is now preparing to take off and chase race leader Christian Maurer (SUI1), who leads the Frenchman by 20km and is now 220km from Turnpoint 6, Matterhorn.

The weather across the Alps was split on Day 6. In the northern Alps, where the chasing pack was, there were good flying conditions, but there was a 15km/h westerly wind which slowed down the athletes in the air. There was also the risk of isolated thunderstorms later in the day.

On the southside of the Alps, where Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) and Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) were battling it out head-to-head, the flying conditions were less good. The air was more stable, which means the thermals don’t form so well or go so high.

Weather is everything in the Red Bull X-Alps

Maurer and Petiot have been moving slowly on Day 6, soaring at the same height as the mountains and unable to break through to fly above the peaks.

Looking ahead, a weather front was forecast to arrive from the west on Day 8. This was expected to impact the pace of the race leaders even more, allowing the chasing athletes to gain some ground.

Weather is everything in the Red Bull X-Alps, and understanding how it can impact the flying each day is key. Some athletes even have weather gurus back at home, who brief their athlete each day on what to expect.

Meanwhile, the back of the field is 300km from the front. Back there the weather is bad for flying - high winds of 40km/h at 2,000m from the west will slow progress and turn it into a footrace at the back. 

Later in the day, the epic battle of the skies in the front had turned into a battle of attrition on the ground. Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) was still hanging onto his lead by 25km. Behind him, Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) was chasing hard, even gaining the lead for a short time. It is worth mentioning though that Maurer still had his Ledlenser Night Pass by that time. Petiot used his in the previous night. 

Some 85km behind Petiot another battle was taking place mid-afternoon - that for position 3 and 4. 

Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) who has spent Day 5 in third position, had lost it to Rookie Benoit Outters (FRA4) shortly after lunchtime. 

Outters had 38km to go to reach Turnpoint 5, Monte Baldo, while Guschlbauer had 45km.

However, just before 4pm Pal Takats (HUN) and Manu Nubel (GER1) were managing to hang on in the air, the only two pilots still flying. Flying together, wingtip to wingtip, they were neck and neck with Guschlbauer, threatening to force him back into sixth place.

The battle for third position was as hot as the titanic struggle at the front.

What happened after? Stay tuned for the next "Relive the Action" episode! 

More stunning images of the last race edition in 2017 on our Instagram channel!

Photos by © zooom / Vitek Ludvik, © zooom / Sebastian Marko