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'The Quick Corsican' like an artist in the sky as he approaches landmark birthday.
The clock is ticking to Nicolas Ivanoff’s landmark 50th birthday, the Red Bull Air Race pilot having spent virtually half a century in flight.
Ivanoff will blow the candles off his birthday cake in three months time but there is little suggestion he is about to hang up his jumpsuit any time soon on the eve of #racing this weekend in San Diego, a venue that accounts for one of his victories in the series.
Instead, he talks about flying with the passion of a newcomer, and is akin to a pilot philosopher likening each flight to an artist’s brush strokes.
“I like the idea that we’re artists in the sky,” says a pilot labelled ‘the Quick Corsican’. “The big reason some days I don’t do things very well is a bit like telling an artist to every day do the same painting. I like this idea because sometimes he won’t feel right. Me too in flight.”
Ivanoff’s results have been prone to fluctuation during his time in the Red Bull Air Race Series.
His former rival Nigel Lamb in his pre-season predictions likened him to the French rugby team, adding, “you never know which Nicolas Ivanoff is going to turn up”.
Lamb said: “He has enormous talent and when he’s like that, he's virtually unbeatable but, most of the time, his mind seems to be elsewhere and he’s midfield.”
It is an analogy that Ivanoff not just accepts but also fully embraces.
“I’m really glad to read something like that from someone like Nigel,” he adds. “And he’s right because, when I have a good feeling, everything is right but sometimes it’s just not right.
“I’m working on that and I need to find the right way to get the good feeling in the plane always.”
It is telling that Ivanoff boasts nine podiums from his time in the series but, of that nine, five have been race wins.
The most recent came in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of last season, while the United States has habitually been his best stomping ground with successes in San Diego, which hosts this weekend’s round, and Texas Motor Speedway.
The idea, though, that victory in the past in San Diego can spur him on to further success at the venue this time around does not resonate with him.
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