Day 8, and Red Bull X-Alps leader Christian Maurer bagged his sixth turnpoint: the Matterhorn. With strong winds blowing from the north-west, Maurer took off from a sheltered spot and flew out of the valley. After 30km, he landed on Raron airstrip, a sailplane field near Visp. He came down vertically into winds gusting up to 50 km/h. "At times I was climbing at 2500 ft a minute", he reported. A pilot at the sailplane club came out to greet him, and said, "we’ve closed the field today – it’s too windy even for sailplanes!".
Behind him, five other athletes have now rounded Piz Palu. Coconea is in second place, and continues to work hard at trying to close the margins.
There’s a big battle for third place. The Belgian (Thomas de Dorlodot) and Dutch (Ferdinand van Schelven) athletes showed their tactical prowess as they flew short flights this morning in inclement weather and a moderate north-westerly headwind. At present, De Dorlodot is in third place.
Further back, athletes are struggling to make the fifth turnpoint. As the last athlete in the field, Matsayuki Matsubara (JPN) was eliminated this morning – the next back-ender gets eliminated at 07:00 hrs on July 26th.