The Challenger rundown...

Four races remain before the final, here’s how they line up

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The 2018 Challenger Cup season has been a roller coaster so far. In three races we've seen three different winners and the top five pilots are only separated by eight points, so there's plenty of scope for every pilot to make it to the season finale in Fort Worth.

With four races into the final, we decided to look at the 10 Challengers and see what races they have left to try and claim one of the sixth berths for the final...

Melanie Astles

Current position: 6th
Current points: 8
Races remaining: Kazan and Wiener Neustadt 2
Astles has raced twice this year and walked away with two fourth-place finishes, which annoyed her because she knew she was capable of claiming a podium. Her next race is Kazan, which will give her a confidence boost as last year Astles competed in both races, claiming a fourth and then a third. She'll be hoping for the same this year.

She is then racing at the new location of Wiener Neustadt, which she will enjoy. Her best results, including a win in Indianapolis last season, have come over land-based tracks, so this could play into her hands.

Astles currently sits 6th in the standings, so she has a strong chance of making it to the season finale in Fort Worth.

Florian Bergér
Current position: =1st
Current points: 18
Races remaining: Wiener Neustadt 1 and Indianapolis
The two-time Challenger Cup Champion is currently sitting in joint first with Luke Czepiela. He has only flown two races this season, but has claimed a first and a second place finish. His last race was Budapest, where he finished second, and will have quite a break before his next race at the unknown location of Wiener Neustadt.  With him flying in the first race, he's not going to have any references to work out his lines. But Bergér has been in this situation before and come out on top.

He is also returning to Indianapolis where he finished fourth in the race last year, but was crowned the Challenger Cup Champion. There is no doubt Bergér will be at the final in Fort Worth, but he'll have to work hard to claim a hat-trick of titles.

Kenny Chiang
Current position: 10th
Current points: 0
Races remaining: Kazan, Wiener Neustadt 1, Wiener Neustadt 2 and Indianapolis
Chiang might have the best run-in to the end of the season as he is racing in all four of the remaining races until the final. The Hong Kong-based pilot has only had one race so far this season and finished last. He picked up three seconds of penalties. Without that he would've finished third.

His next race is Kazan, where he won last year, so he'll be full of confidence heading back to Russia. If he could score highly there, he could go on to claim some other strong results and see him make it to the final.

Kevin Coleman
Current position: =7th
Current points: 6
Races remaining: Kazan, Wiener Neustadt 1 and Indianapolis
Coleman is another pilot to have only raced once so far this season. He claimed a third at the season opener in Abu Dhabi. He has had six months between races so could be a bit rusty. But the fiery American has always been strong out of the blocks. He was on the podium in his first ever race.

He finished third in Kazan last year under difficult conditions and will be confident returning. He then has a good run to the final, which if he scores well, he could make.

Dario Costa
Current position: =4th
Current points: 10
Races remaining: Kazan, Wiener Neustadt 2 and Indianapolis
Costa has impressed in his debut season in the Challenger Cup. In his two races he has finished fourth and third – taking the podium in only his second race. He has three races remaining before the final and if he can keep his cool he should do well. He is up against strong opposition in every race, but the Italian pilot will believe in his own ability and will be disappointed if he doesn't make the final.

Luke Czepiela
Current position: =1st
Current points: 18
Races remaining: Kazan and Wiener Neustadt 2
Czepiela is top of the standings and bubbling over with confidence after his win in Budapest. The Polish pilot was 1.5s quicker than Bergér in the race and now believes it's his title for the taking.

He only has two races left before the final, but in Kazan last year he won the rescheduled Chiba race so will feel at home in this track. He is also racing in the second Wiener Neustadt race so will be able to watch the other pilots closely to see their lines and what might work for him.

Czepiela would love to become the Challenger Cup Champion and this is his best chance to date.

Patrick Davidson
Current position: 9th
Current points: 2
Races remaining: Kazan, Wiener Neustadt 1 and Indianapolis
Davidson is another 2018 entrant to the Challenger Cup, he has impressed with his flying ability but has seemed to struggle on Race Day, maybe due to pushing too hard in the track.

He has three races remaining and will want to build his air racing knowledge so he can compete even harder next year. The South African pilot will have to work hard, but there is no reason he won't be able to claim a podium before the season is over.

Daniel Genevey
Current position: =7th
Current points: 6
Races remaining: Wiener Neustadt 2 and Indianapolis
Genevey has had three races this season and struggled in his two opening competitions, but in Budapest he claimed the first podium of his Air Race career.

He has a long break before his next race and that could hinder him as he seems to do better if his races are closer together, but time will tell. He has a good chance to get into the final, but will have to work hard for it.

Daniel Ryfa
Current position: 3rd
Current points: 12
Races remaining: Wiener Neustadt 1 and Indianapolis
Ryfa is the most experienced pilot in the Challenger Cup and should really be top of the standings. He was close to winning the season opener, right up until he clipped a pylon at the penultimate gate. He went on to win in Cannes and take his point total to 12.

He will go up against Bergér in both his remaining races, which will make for thrilling encounters and he'll want to win them both so he has the best chance of taking the title in Fort Worth.

Baptiste Vignes
Current position: =4th
Current points: 10
Races remaining: Wiener Neustadt 1, Wiener Neustadt 2 and Indianapolis
Vignes has had a mixed season so far. He finished second in Cannes, but then finished fifth in Budapest, so his season could go either way.

However, he claimed a second place in Kazan last year and will hope to repeat that. With three races still to compete in, there is no reason that Vignes can't climb the leaderboard. He also seems to have taken to the new Edge 540 raceplane exceptionally well, so expect him to cause an upset at the remaining races.
The Challengers will be competing in Kazan, Russia on 25-26 August. Get your tickets HERE.