2018 will see 10 pilots competing to become the Challenger Cup Champion. The first race of this new season will see seven pilots compete. Abu Dhabi will play host to the current champion, as well as second and third from last year. It will also be the first opportunity to see the two new pilots in their first Red Bull Air Race. Here's how they line up...
With back-to-back titles Florian Bergér is the firm favourite to take the win here. But the German pilot has never won in Abu Dhabi. And there is another unknown factor, how will he perform with the new plane?
Even by his own admission, Coleman did not perform as well as he would've liked. The determined American will want to get back to his best. He will have good memories of Abu Dhabi, it was his first ever race in the series and he finished second – he'll be hoping to go one better this weekend.
Costa is one of the new faces in the Challenger Class for 2018. The Italian pilot brings with him a wealth of aviation and aerobatic knowledge. He is full of confidence and will believe in his ability. However, he is an unknown quantity at this moment in time.
Czepiela was third overall last season and the Polish pilot will want to start his campaign with a win here in Abu Dhabi, to help achieve his aim of winning the title in 2018. He had a terrible race in 2017 where he hit a pylon that saw him finish sixth. He'll be out to start strong and has already said how much he loves the Edge.
The second new pilot making his debut in the series is South African Patrick Davidson. He's a very experienced pilot who has been around aviation his entire life and loves to fly. Racing in the heat of Abu Dhabi will be a new experience for Davidson, but he'll be focused on flying cleanly, safely and quickly.
Genevey is entering his second season in the Challenger Class and in 2017 we saw moments of brilliance, but he failed to find consistency over the entire race week. This year, with more experience, he'll be pushing forward and fighting for his first race win. Could it happen here?
Ryfa is a man on a mission, he has finished the Challenger Class runner up for the last two seasons and wants to blow the competition away. He has won the race in Abu Dhabi for the last two seasons and will want to make it a hat-trick and get his season started in the best possible way.
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