Day 2 of the Red Bull X-Alps was hot and hazy, but thankfully flyable. A lot of progress was made by many of the athletes who had passed Turnpoint 4, Chiemgau Achental, by close of play. Chrigel made his move late on, taking him back into first position and 21km ahead of his closest rival by bed time.
The early-morning hike up the Schmittenhöhe was hot and sweaty, but by around 9:30 pilots had started to launch, with Benoît Outters (FRA2) first off, into slow-going conditions with weak thermals. Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) was in position elsewhere, but his launch was delayed when he had to spend an hour looking for his lost phone. It turned out to be a lucky hold-up, as by the time he launched the thermals were much better, and he leapfrogged everyone to reach Turnpoint 3, Kitzbühel Hahnenkamm, first.
Day 1’s race leader Maxime Pinot (FRA2) had a bad start to the day when he bombed out from his first flight. “I just thought the thermals would be better out front, but I couldn’t find anything”, he said.
Turnpoint 4 was in two parts: athletes had to fly to a lake, and then turn back south and land at race partner Skywalk’s headquarters at Marquartstein to sign the turnpoint board. It was a difficult dogleg that athletes had to complete on foot, in the sweltering 30-degree heat of the valley. Markus Anders (GER1) made it in first, Simon Oberrauner (AUT2) and Chrigel Maurer were second and third.
It was in the gentler evening thermals that Chrigel Maurer snuck ahead. He split from Durogati and Guschlbauer, taking a route just slightly further south of theirs. All three had short flights and had to hike again. Chrigel hiked the 1800m Wendelstein while the other two chose a closer, shorter hike but with a flight into a cul-de-sac; Chrigel managed to stay in the air until the 9pm land-by time to finish 21km ahead of Paul, Aaron and Patrick Von Känel who had also joined them.
Meanwhile, at the back of the field some 190km behind the race leaders and struggling with a sore leg, Andrei Mashak (RUS) was making slow progress but was the only athlete to have pulled his night pass. The first athlete will be eliminated on Wednesday morning, which gives Andrei the night and next day to try to get ahead and out of danger of the axeman.
The top three athletes at the end of Day 2 were Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), 968.8km, Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) at 987.8km and Aaron Durogati (ITA1) at 989.0km.
Watch the live tracking here.