Matt Hall races into lead of Red Bull championship

Australian Matt Hall continued his dominance in the 2018 Red Bull Air Race championship with another win at Chiba, Japan at the weekend.

Michael Goulian of the USA claimed his third podium of the year in second, while the Czech Republic’s Martin Sonka got his season back on track with third.

Matt Hall said afterwards, “This one was very hard fought. To have a quali like we did yesterday and to go to bed knowing you have to race the reigning world champion and the guy who has won this race the last two times in a row, who’s also the home crowd favorite, was a tough morning.

“But we are pretty proud of how the team pulled it all together and there wasnt a single error from anybody in the team, because no matter what people see out there, it is a team sport and everyone nailed it. It was really, really cool.”

Red Bull Chiba
Matt Hall, centre, took first place in the Ciba, Japan round of the 2018 Red Bull Air Race Championship, and leapt in the series lead. Michael Goulian, left, was second and Martin Sonka, third. Top photo: Matt Hall

An estimated 70,000 people packed Makuhari Beach in Chiba to see Yoshihide Muroya race at home for the first time since winning the World Championship in 2017. But Japanese pilot exceeded the maximum allowable G in his opening run, resulting in a Did Not Finish (DNF).

In the Final Four, Goulian, Sonka, Canada’s Pete McLeod and Hall wrestled for the victory. Goulian laid down a time of 56.695, while Sonka and then McLeod both pushed to two-second penalties. Hall’s clean run under pressure nipped the American by just 0.319s.

Results Chiba 2018:  

  1. Matt Hall (AUS)
  2. Michael Goulian (USA)
  3. Martin Sonka (CZE)
  4. Pete McLeod (CAN)
  5. Mika Brageot (FRA)
  6. François Le Vot (FRA)
  7. Juan Velarde (ESP)
  8. Matthias Dolderer (GER)
  9. Petr Kopfstein (CZE)
  10. Cristian Bolton (CHI)
  11. Ben Murphy (GBR)
  12. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA)
  13. Kirby Chambliss (USA)
  14. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN)

World Championship standings:

  1. Matt Hall (AUS) 36 points
  2. Michael Goulian (USA) 36
  3. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 19
  4. Martin Sonka (CZE) 19
  5. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 15
  6. Mika Brageot (FRA) 15
  7. Pete McLeod (CAN) 11
  8. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 9
  9. François Le Vot (FRA) 9
  10. Juan Velarde (ESP) 9
  11. Ben Murphy (GBR) 6
  12. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 6
  13. Cristian Bolton (CHI) 1
  14. 14 Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 1

Next race: Budapest, 23-24 June.


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