The top three pilots in the 2019 Red Bull Air Race World Championship flew their raceplanes over Japan’s Tokyo Bay on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, just 24 hours before free practice starts for the sport’s last race ever.
Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic, Matt Hall of Australia, and Japan’s home favorite Yoshihide Muroya, are first, second and third in the overall standings, and one of them will almost certainly be crowned World Champion on the podium in Chiba, according to air race officials.
Chiba has hosted Red Bull Air Race action across four previous seasons and is renowned for its air racing super fans, race officials note.
Home-grown hero and former World Champion Muroya pulled off race victories in Chiba in 2016 and 2017. If he can capture a third home triumph on Sept. 7-8, he may earn his second title as well, officials said.
Qualifying is on Saturday, Sept. 7, with race day taking off Sunday, Sept. 8.
Where do the American pilots stand?
Šonka is leading in points as he goes into this weekend’s race with 65. The two pilots from the United States stand at 37 points for Michael Goulian and 26 points for Kirby Chambliss.
Although Red Bull has announced that it will not continue the series, that doesn’t change race day strategy for Chambliss, who has been part of the sport since its founding in 2003.
“Our mindset and objective are the same as every race – to win,” he said. “Just because it’s the last race of the season doesn’t change that. We will do everything we can to fight for the first place finish.”