Abu Dhabi 2018 saw Florian Bergér claim his fifth race win of his Challenger Cup career. The two-time title winner has shown his rivals that there will be no easy run for any of them. It's his title and they will need to take it from him.
Bergér is under no illusion that he's going to have it all his own way this season. He openly admits that he has struggled with the new raceplane, picking up penalties throughout the days leading up to the race. "It's amazing I won this race, I struggled a lot with G-penalties in training and didn't want to repeat that in the race so I tried to fly a conservative line," he explained. "I'm really happy, to claim my first Abu Dhabi win, before I was second and third," he added.
He had one hand on the winner's trophy when Daniel Ryfa entered the track. The Swedish pilot was looking smooth in the track, but as he rounded the penultimate gate he clipped the pylon adding three seconds to his time and handing Bergér the win. "I was pleased with my time in the race, but I was watching Daniel [Ryfa] and he was so fast. He was having such a good run, he was 0.5s faster and then he picked up a pylon hit and that's it. I feel sorry for Daniel as he was doing a really good job," said Bergér about his good friend and rival.
Bergér was under no illusion that it was a close race, but he had his tactics and stuck with them. "The secret was to fly on the limit, and the G-limit, without picking up a penalty. I tried to be right on the limit and it worked out," he explained.
So the question is, does Bergér think he'll become the Challenger Cup Champion for the third time in a row? "My goal for the season is to fly consistently and to be on the podium as much as possible. Perhaps I will be the overall winner, but it will be very tough," he concluded.