Yoshihide Muroya of Japan returns from his flight during qualifying day at the sixth round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Wiener Neustadt, Austria on September 15, 2018. Photo:Balazs Gardi/Red Bull Content Pool
Yoshihide Muroya of Japan was consistent across two Qualifying runs and has secured pole position for this weekend’s Red Bull Air Race stop in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Germany’s Matthias Dolderer celebrated his birthday by taking second place on the timesheet, with Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic finishing third in the session that determined the head-to-head matchups for Sunday’s race.
Wiener Neustadt, Austria – The sixth stop of the eight-race season, Wiener Neustadt has been highly anticipated as a mix of the classic and the new: both a return to the Austrian roots of the Red Bull Air Race and a debut for the sport at a historic natural airfield. The setting serves up the season’s first race over land, and the first with a standing start, which sees the raceplanes enter the Start Gate only seconds after they start rolling down the runway.
Pilots get two runs through the track in Qualifying, and the best run counts. Muroya produced the fastest time of all the pilots’ first runs, then, taking off again from the standing start, he topped his own time by one-hundredth of a second, for the day’s best result of 58.483. Dolderer’s 58.800 made him the only other pilot to break the 59-second mark in the session, while Sonka logged 59.071.
Muroya, the 2017 World Champion who has yet to win a race this season, commented, “I felt confident coming into Wiener Neustadt, and our consistency gives us a good feeling for race day.” With the knowledge that just two stops remain on the calendar after this Austrian race, he continued, “Of course we are aiming to win here and the rest of the races. We are always hunting the top guys, and we are still fifth position overall, so it’s a bit far but not impossible. Race Day is different from Quali and I have to be focused – just concentrate on each session and go faster.”
Because Muroya was the fastest qualifier, in Sunday’s opening Round of 14 the Japanese pilot will face the slowest, Cristian Bolton of Chile. The pilot currently at the top of the World Championship standings, Michael Goulian, will clash with Nicolas Ivanoff of France. Meanwhile, Dolderer will square off with the contender who set the Wiener Neustadt track record in Free Practice, Petr Kopfstein of the Czech Republic. Sonka, who is tied in the points with Australia’s Matt Hall for second overall, goes up against Spain’s Juan Velarde, and Hall flies against France’s François Le Vot. Another Frenchman, Mika Brageot, takes on Pete McLeod of Canada, and Kirby Chambliss of the USA, who has been part of the sport since its maiden season in 2003, is looking at a challenge from this year’s charging rookie, Ben Murphy of Great Britain.
Dolderer also claimed the DHL Fastest Lap Award for producing the fastest single lap among all the two-lap Qualifying runs. At November’s season finale in Fort Worth, USA, the pilot with the most awards will be presented with the 2018 DHL Fastest Lap trophy, and Dolderer’s achievement gives him a commanding lead in the contest, with three awards to one each for Sonka, Goulian and Chambliss.
Watch what happens in Wiener Neustadt! The last European race of the season takes off on Sunday, 16 September 2018. For ticket information and all the latest updates, visit www.redbullairrace.com
Results Master Class Qualifying, Wiener Neustadt 2018: 1. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 58.483, 2. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 58.800, 3. Martin Sonka (CZE) 59.071, 4. Pete McLeod (CAN) 59.196, 5. Matt Hall (AUS) 59.212, 6. Michael Goulian (USA) 59.227, 7. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 59.526, 8. Ben Murphy (GBR) 59.854, 9. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 1:00.002, 10. François Le Vot (FRA) 1:00.200, 11. Mika Brageot (FRA) 1:00.532, 12. Juan Velarde (ESP) 1:01.446, 13. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 1:01.920, 14. Cristian Bolton (CHI) 1:03.130
RED BULL AIR RACE 2018 CALENDAR
2-3 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
20-22 April: Cannes, France
26-27 May: Chiba, Japan
23-24 June: Budapest, Hungary
25-26 August: Kazan, Russia
15-16 September: Wiener Neustadt, Austria
6-7 October: Indianapolis, USA
17-18 November: Fort Worth, USA
ABOUT RED BULL AIR RACE
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has held more than 80 races around the globe. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 370 km/h while enduring forces of up to 12G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship. www.redbullairrace.com