Air racer Mike Goulian flies clean — maybe too clean

On one hand, American pilot Mike Goulian saw some encouraging progress at the third stop of the Red Bull Air Race in Malaysia — but not nearly the kind of progress he’s looking for. For three races in a row, the award-winning pilot has finished in 12th place. At the next stop, in Poland, expect an aggressive new strategy from the man from Massachusetts.

The race in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, marked a trifecta for Goulian — an intensely frustrating one. After having to scratch the first event in Abu Dhabi due to engine trouble, and grazing a pylon in Rovinj, he was looking to change his luck at the first Red Bull Air Race ever in east Asia.

Michael Goulian (USA) - LifestyleBut much like fellow American Kirby Chambliss (who finished ninth) Goulian flew well despite sweltering heat on May 18, only to log a lackluster time. Goulian ended up in 12th place, and both Americans are now looking to improve their aircraft performance before the season’s next stop in July.

Great Britain’s Nigel Lamb had a happier finish to the day, claiming his very first win after seven years of competing in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Austria’s Hannes Arch, the overall leader, finished second, with Australia’s Matt Hall claiming third.

After the event, Goulian stated, “I went in there with a mindset of just not to make any errors and to be really clean, and it might have been a little bit more conservative than I would have wanted — but truthfully, we’ve been watching the lines everybody else is flying and I’m not sure I can fly the airplane much better.”

“Our plane might be a little bit slower, so for the next race team technicians Dennis Sawyer and Matt Chapman will work on aerodynamic modifications and engine mods,” he said. “We’re going to try lighten the plane a little and work on the engine intakes.”

Goulian also is pondering a new piloting strategy at the next stage of high-speed, low-altitude action in Gdynia, Poland on July 26-27.

“My style is to stay consistent and try to work my way up slowly, but I think at the next stop we’ll take a different style from the beginning of training — just start it at a very aggressive level and see how that works.”

Watch the Malaysia Red Bull Air Race World Championship race on FOX SPORTS. Monday, June 2. Check local listings for dates and times.

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