"I’ll make Mt Blanc by 2 or 3 pm", predicted race leader Christian Maurer yesterday. However, he had crossed the border into France this morning by 11 am and soared his way down the Chamonix Valley to round Mt Blanc, the seventh of the Red Bull X-Alps turnpoints, by midday.
Not far behind, Toma Coconea (picture attached) was also making good progress, busting into Switzerland and taking turnpoint six, the Matterhorn.
A really tight race is emerging for third spot. Tom De Dorlodot, who held third position yesterday, snookered himself this morning by staying in the valley hiking while his rivals got up high for early flights.
Ferdinand Van Schelven (NED), Martin Muller (SUI) and Jon Chambers overtook De Dorlodot, but it is Paul Guschlbauer (AUT) who is pushing hardest and currently in third. He is 35 km behind second placed Coconea.
Further back, Martin Romero (ARG) landed in a tree this afternoon. He is unharmed, fit and well, but his glider has been damaged to such extent Romero has decided to end the race.
This puts real pressure on Carter (RSA). The South African was ill two nights ago and his performance has suffered. He has stated it is his goal to not be eliminated before the race ends, yet he is currently in last place, and the next elimination takes place tomorrow at 07:00 hrs.
At the time of writing, Maurer has just over 200 km to go before he reaches goal. The Red Bull X-Alps continues to thrill followers watching Live Tracking. Maurer’s performance and the battle for second and third place are getting news channels, the press and internet forums across the world buzzing.