Chiba 2018: Round of 14 preview

How the pilots line up for race three

Bolton begins the day's racing

Race Day is finally here. It's time to make a mark on the season. Here's how the Master Class pilots line up for the Round of 14...

Heat 1
Cristian Bolton vs Pete McLeod
Bolton has been improving in every session and will fly into the track full of confidence. His only issue will be that he won't have any knowledge of today's track conditions before his run. McLeod holds the 2018 track record, which he set in Free Practice 3. He'll want to better that time and start his path into the Final 4.

Heat 2
Nicolas Ivanoff vs Matthias Dolderer
Dolderer knows that Ivanoff can be fast in the track, but he has the advantage of flying second in the heat. Dolderer has set the faster times all week and after his second place in Cannes will think it's his time to get back to the top of the standings.

Heat 3
Martin Sonka vs Juan Velarde
Both these pilots have a point to prove in Chiba. Sonka will want to forget his back-to-back DQs and get back to his 2017 winning ways. Velarde has been so close so many times that he must feel it's about time he got on the podium again. He's confident and pleased with his team, but it's time for him to step it up a gear and start claiming more podiums.

Heat 4
Matt Hall vs Yoshihide Muroya
This is the heat to watch. Back in 2017 these two met in the Round of 8 here in Chiba. Muroya came out on top in that heat, although Hall feels he was harshly judged for receiving a two second penalty for climbing in the gate. This year he'll be looking to ruin the home fans' day by knocking out the local hero.

Heat 5
Petr Kopfstein vs Mika Brageot
These two pilots have never gone head-to head before. They are both former Challenger Cup Champions and have made the progression into the Master Class look easy. Kopfstein has the advantage as he was second here last year and won as a Challenger in 2015, but you can never discount Brageot. Whoever can keep the coolest head will come out on top in this heat.

Heat 6
François Le Vot vs Kirby Chambliss
Le Vot and Chambliss have gone head-to-head five times in past races, and currently it's 4-1 in favour of Chambliss. But the diligent and committed Le Vot will be fully focused on progressing. The last time these two faced each other was in Abu Dhabi at the start of the season. Chambliss won, but Le Vot went through as the Fastest Loser, so expect this to be a closely fought battle.

Heat 7
Ben Murphy vs Michael Goulian
This heat is a repeat of Cannes, which went to Goulian. Goulian is in the form of his life at the moment and seems unstoppable. Murphy, in only his third Master Class race, has had a mixed season so far. He's had issues with his raceplane here in Chiba, but the former Red Arrows pilot is determined to make his mark in the Master Class and would love to pull off an upset here.

The Round of 14 kicks off at 14:00 local time, catch every second HERE.

Chiba 2018 Round of 14 Startlist