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Watch: Fans in shock as man flies above F1 track on flyboarder

Saturday’s qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix saw one of the more unique scenes in F1 history.

F1 fans are used to high-octane thrills on the racetrack, but even the most seasoned supporter would likely have been stunned by the sight of a man flying above the track on a flyboarder ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix.

A stuntman, who has been identified as French inventor Franky Zapata, was captured on social media footage zooming above the track at Spa in advance of the action, and as a vintage F1 car hurtled down a straight in an apparent race with the daredevil.

Zapata began his run at the the La Source corner but social media videos captured him around much of the track, and around other famous turns such as Eau Rouge and down the track’s infamous straight.

Speaking ahead of his white-knuckle flight, Zapata said: “I’ve done a lot of challenges from zero to 400 metres or with a u-turn. This is an area in which I feel comfortable with the flyboarder.

“It accelerates very fast and turns very well. On the other hand, over long distances, such as here, with a very huge top speed, I don’t go beyond 200m/h. So it can be complicated. It’s always a pleasure to fly here. I love flying on F1 circuits. The view is amazing.

“Of course I don’t have much time to admire the view. I have to stay focus on my turns. The flyboarder requires a lot of concentration. But the circuit is magnificent, the scenery is exceptional.”

Zapata previously flew around the same track in 2019, also paying tribute at the time to French driver Anthoine Hubert who was killed in an accident at the Spa-Francorchamps that year.

He has also been seen performing similar stunts ahead of the French Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 hour race.

Zapata invented the flyboard in 2012 and it is powered by hydropropulsion, which allows its user to climb out of water and propel the device forward.

“No helicopter camera this weekend, just this dude on FaceTime,” remarked one fan on social media of the viral video, while another joked that Zapata “took ‘flying lap’ way too seriously”.


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