Germany’s Matthias Dolderer beat the elements, the obstacles and 13 of the world’s best pilots to become the first German ever to win a Red Bull Air Race at the second stop of the 2016 season in Spielberg, Austria.
Despite gusts nearing 25 knots, Dolderer made the notoriously tricky track in Spielberg look easy and clocked a winning time of 56.996, with the crowd going wild for Austria’s own Hannes Arch less than four-tenths of a second behind him in in second place. The 2014 World Champion Nigel Lamb finished a strong third.
The win confirms Dolderer’s place among the season favorites after his second-place finish at the season opener in Abu Dhabi last month, and puts him in the overall lead with 27 points ahead of France’s Nicolas Ivanoff with 19.
While the near-miss was a disappointment for Arch, who has never won at home, it was also a much-needed boost after a slow start to the season, lifting him to third overall.
The 2015 overall runner-up Matt Hall of Australia couldn’t fly as hard as usual due to a back injury and is now in the eighth spot on the leaderboard, while fastest Qualifier Juan Velarde of Spain didn’t advance past the first round when he pushed hard and incurred a penalty.
U.S. pilot Kirby Chambliss finished sixth, while Michael Goulian finished 10th.
In earlier action, Florian Bergér – also of Germany – earned his first Challenger Class win, with American Kevin Coleman in second and Sweden’s Daniel Ryfa in third.
The next race is slated for June 4-5 in Chiba, Japan.