Cannes 2018: Master Class Race Day reactions

Pilots reflect on the first ever French Red Bull Air Race

Matt Hall Racing celebrate

At a brand new race location it was like throwback to 2016 with Matt Hall and Matthias Dolderer battling it out for the top spot on the podium. But today belonged to Hall. Here's what he, and the 13 other Master Class pilots, thought of France's first race...

1st Matt Hall
"It feels good; it was a hard fought Final 4, but it was always going to be a hard fought Final 4, the way everyone is flying everyone can get on the podium and I believe there's six people that could win consistently. If you get four of those six in the Final 4 then any of them can win – every second counts, as you saw between me and Matthias. We've known since our first training run that we had a good setup. We got it back to how we had it at the end of last season. We had to ease into it, I have to ease into it, so we knew we couldn't go as fast as we wanted on Friday and Saturday because I had to get experience in the new setup."

2nd Matthias Dolderer
"We are super happy with the second place. Of course first place would've been better and we lost it by a small margin. All weekend we got faster and faster here and were also being consistent. All the modifications and the team worked well. I have to give big thanks again to everyone for the support, I'm happy. The big difference between here and Abu Dhabi was that I wasn't as aggressive. It was important for me to have consistency and make it to the Final 4."

3rd Michael Goulian
"We struggled early in the week in Free Practice and Pablo helped by studying the line and we got a little bit better. In Qualifying it all came together and then in the Round of 14 it was great, then in the 8 and the 4, it didn't feel different. Maybe I was a little bit out of rhythm, and in this track you lose time. But I'm super happy with my performance and that of the whole team."

4th Yoshihide Muroya
"It's good to be in the Final 4 again. There was quite a bit of wind shift and I'm a little disappointed I'm not on the podium. Five points in the championship is nothing and I think it's better to be in third or second place and then take the top spot in Chiba. I'm looking forward to flying at home; we can get the plane early and have a lot of testing. We haven't tested the new parts properly yet, so this will give us a chance and Chiba will be excellent."

5th Mika Brageot
"Racing against Yoshi in the Round of 8 was not an easy task, but generally I'm very happy with the performance this week. We were always improving our timings in the Free Practices. We were also being consistent with strong times in Qualifying, the Round of 14 and Round of 8, so we are very, very happy as it shows we are on the way to getting big results."

6th Juan Velarde
"Well I'm happy with the performance but 6th place isn't a great result. I was flying fast but I collected a penalty as I was flying too early in the VTM. But the time was a 57.7s, which would've got us on the podium, so I'm happy with the team and the performance. This track was very demanding technically, you had to fly very smooth to keep the energy in the raceplane and at the same time be very aggressive in the VTMs so I enjoyed very much flying here and I love this type of track."

7th Pete McLeod
"It's on me, there's no other excuses other than I made mental or focus errors at Gate 4. As soon as I went through it I knew I'd rolled a bit early, so I expected the penalty and then I did the worst thing I could've there and let that take over my focus for the rest of the run – which was a disaster as well. I made a mistake, the track was fine, it was my mistake. If you get behind the raceplane even for a fraction of a fraction of a second it's too much because we're moving so fast. Any break in concentration can throw off a chain of events and I let that happen today."

8th Martin Sonka
"I'm very, very, very, very disappointed. It's another technical issue which has decided the race for us. This time it was the RPM. It looks like we were two seconds longer in the maximum RPM because the automatic system we have didn't react properly in the Start Gate and therefore it was four seconds over the RPM limit. You're only allowed to be there for two seconds. It's a technical issue we have to solve and we won't have the plane before Japan. I've been competing in sport since I was five years old so I know that this is part of sport, it's not pleasant, but I'm thinking about how we can fix the raceplane rather than the emotional side of the problem."

9th Petr Kopfstein
"I didn't find the right mixture – the plane wasn't as fast as we expected. I didn't see any major mistake but maybe in the last VTM I pulled a little too soft; I think maybe that's where I lost it. So congratulations to Juan. But we are improving in every race."

10th Ben Murphy
"After the dream run of Abu Dhabi, this week has been a little more difficult. We had issues with the aeroplane to work out, which are challenging even though you try not to let it affect you. After the penalty in Qualifying, it was always going to be a really tough battle against Mike, and all I wanted to prove was that we could put yesterday behind us and make a nice clean run, which we did. So actually I'm quite happy with the result, it's a good end to the weekend given where we were yesterday. The biggest takeaway for us now is how well the team works. We had some problems and the team came together exceptionally well. Both Abu Dhabi and Cannes have been amazing venues, and we couldn't have hoped for better conditions here in France, with the Croisette full of thousands of people enjoying the race."

11th François Le Vot
"It doesn't matter where the race is, it is frustrating to get kicked out in the Round of 14. Of course I was very pleased to fly in front of my friends who came to see me here, and let them be reassured that I did my best and things will work better next time. The target is quite clear in my mind, I just focus on what I have to do. We have a lot of work to do, but the next race is in Chiba and we will not have access to the plane. So in some ways our situation will be the same, but I think we will do better."

12th Kirby Chambliss
"I think Martin would have beaten me even without my penalty. I thought it was a good run, but the track had slowed down and I didn't realise it had slowed down that much. It's very disappointing. We wanted to continue to move on up and it's a big setback. It's all on me, my team had everything ready and the plane is running good, I just need to fly better, and clean."

13th Cristian Bolton
"Of course I'm not happy, I got a penalty and I don't know why. I will have to check it. I've been getting a lot of funny calls this week so it's not good. My net time was 59s but that's still not good enough to beat Mika. I want to check the penalty. It's a different track to Abu Dhabi, this is more compact and there are a lot of big turns, and you really have to work out how to fly from Gate 3b to Gate 6 and if you don't get that correctly you can lose a second and a half in time."

14th Nicolas Ivanoff
"After the penalty I was really surprised – I couldn't see it from inside the plane so I have to check the video. For sure we are very disappointed. We had a really, really hard week with a lot of problems with the plane. It is not a good excuse, but it was really difficult to prepare for this race. I feel good in the plane – it is really strong and I am fully confident in flying it, but I need more practice, and due to engine problems I could not do that. But it was really nice to see all the fans here, and I hope it will be much better if we have a race here next year. Thanks to everyone who helped to organise the race in Cannes."

Next for the Master Class pilots is race three in Chiba, Japan. Tickets are available HERE.