CANNES, France – Australia’s Matt Hall won the premiere of the Red Bull Air Race in France, held the weekend of April 21-22, 2018.
Looking for a return to the form that has twice made him runner-up in the World Championship, Hall flew first in the Final 4, clocking 57.692. The time held up when World Champion Yoshihide Muroya of Japan earned a two-second penalty and Matthias Dolderer of Germany finished 0.072 behind the Australian.
But the shock of the round came when it was announced that Czech pilot Martin Šonka, who had apparently advanced to the Final 4, would in fact finish eighth due to evidence found after the end of the Round of 8: A technical infraction of exceeding the maximum RPM limit.
As a result, it was 2018 World Championship leader Michael Goulian of the USA who leaped into his raceplane and concluded the final round, his third-place finish keeping him at the top of the overall leaderboard.
With the World Championship wide open, the next stop in Japan could be pivotal, according to race officials. The next race is slated for May 26-27 in Chiba, Japan.
Not only is it a pressure-filled home race for the defending titleholder Muroya in third overall, but Goulian has had his best start in more than nine seasons of racing.
Plus, after a full year of improvements to a new raceplane, Hall is hungry to take the crown himself, and only three points separate him from the American leader.
Dolderer, the 2016 World Champion, is chasing hard in fourth, and at fifth in the standings, Šonka will feel he has something to prove after disqualifications in two consecutive races, officials note.
“It’s been a long, hard transition – a very steep climb – from our former MXS raceplane to our new Edge, but now with a new team, this new plane and a new sponsor, it feels awesome,” Hall said. “We’re feeling set to make a run for the World Championship.”
Tickets for the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship – including stop number three in Chiba, Japan – are on sale now.
Results Master Class Cannes 2018
- Matt Hall (AUS)
- Matthias Dolderer (GER)
- Michael Goulian (USA)
- Yoshihide Muroya (JPN)
- Mika Brageot (FRA)
- Juan Velarde (ESP)
- Pete McLeod (CAN)
- Martin Šonka (CZE
- Petr Kopfstein (CZE)
- Ben Murphy (GBR)
- François Le Vot (FRA)
- Kirby Chambliss (USA)
- Cristian Bolton (CHI)
- Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA)
World Championship standings after two races
- Michael Goulian (USA) 24 points
- Matt Hall (AUS) 21 pts
- Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 19 pts
- Matthias Dolderer (GER) 12 pts
- Martin Šonka (CZE) 10 pts
- Kirby Chambliss (USA) 9 pts
- Mika Brageot (FRA) 9 pts
- Ben Murphy (GBR) 6 pts
- Juan Velarde (ESP) 5
- François Le Vot (FRA) 4 pts
- Pete McLeod (CAN) 4 pts
- Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 4 pts
- Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 1 pt
- Cristian Bolton (CHI) 0