Kazan represents the fourth race of the season for the Challenger pilots. There's still everything to play for and without Florian Bergér and Daniel Ryfa flying this weekend, it gives the other pilots a huge opportunity to climb the leaderboard. Here's how they line up for the return to Russia...
In her two races so far in 2018, Astles has finished fourth twice. But she has been training a lot since Budapest and is confident that she can improve in Russia. "Being back here is a big pleasure for me, I love flying here. Last year I flew well, until I hit a pylon on Race Day, so I hope this year will be good for me – in fact, I know it will be good," she said earlier today at the Race Airport.
Last year, in his debut season, Kenny Chiang took the win in Kazan, which will boost his confidence returning here. Also, up until Budapest, Chiang hadn't raced for nine months, but now he feels he's ready to kickstart his season. "It's really special to come back to a place you've raced before, so overall you're quite comfortable. I would say the track is completely different to last year and it's one of the more challenging tracks this season. Having not raced for nine months and then racing in Budapest, which doubled my flying time in an Edge, it does feel a lot more comfortable now," Chiang said.
Coleman will be back in the track this weekend for the first time since the season opener in Abu Dhabi. He finished third and will want to build on that success in the track. He can also look back on his time in Kazan last year, where he also claimed a third place finish. He has been lucky enough to get some time in an Edge during the months between his last race, so he is brimming with confidence coming into race weekend.
The new 2018 member of the Challenger Class began making waves almost instantly. He took second place in only his second race in Cannes. And as he prepares to make his Russia debut, Dario Costa is full of self-belief: "I'm very excited to get back in the track, it's similar to Cannes, just in reverse. There are some differences – it's not just a 'copy and paste track', but it'll be the same style, and I loved the track in Cannes."
After a first and second place finish so far this season, Czepiela is sitting pretty at the top of the standings and knows he has what it takes to beat anyone else in the Challenger Class. In Budapest, he won by nearly 1.5s and will want to build on that large margin of success here. He also won in Kazan in the rescheduled Chiba race in 2017, so he'll be the one to watch on Sunday.
Davidson is the second member of the 2018 inductions to the Challenger Class and hasn't raced since Cannes in April. So far he has a sixth and a fifth place finish to his name, but the South African pilot is determined to improve and start making an impact in the Challenger Class. He has the advantage that he raced in Cannes, so with the track being very similar he could feel like he already knows the right lines to fly.
The Challengers fly into the Kazan track for the first time tomorrow in their Free Practice sessions, you can follow the action on our live blog HERE.