The Challenger Class pilots of the Red Bull Air Race have two races this weekend – the Kazan race and the rescheduled Chiba race. Today they took to the skies for the first of their double headers, the Chiba race. Here's how they feel they flew...
1st Luke Czepiela
"This felt awesome, I'm making steady progress this season, and hopefully we'll maintain that trend. I'm very happy – it's not an easy track. This gives me a lot of confidence. I feel like I've grown up a bit in the track. I used to be very aggressive and I collected a lot of penalties. Now I've been able to reduce the pylon hits and the penalties. I have my own aircraft at home now that helps a lot with the training, so I feel I can put a big fight to the other guys. I was waiting for this first win of the season and I'll be going to my next race a much better pilot."
2nd Daniel Ryfa
"I was focused and had my plan which I followed, so I was pleased with my flying, but second is the first loser so obviously I'm very disappointed because I thought I could win. I'm quite stressed out right now."
3rd Ben Murphy
"Having lost the Qualifying session I felt I needed to fly a safe run, which I did, and I was really happy with my lines, but when I heard my time I thought I won't be on the top of the timesheet for too long. But the other guys made mistakes and I finished on the podium – that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes."
4th Daniel Genevey
"I'm really happy, I tried new lines and worked hard on the Vertical Turning Manoeuvre, which paid off. I missed out on a podium finish by 0.152s and that's a shame, but it shows I am improving and I still have a lot to learn."
5th Melanie Astles
"Practice was good this morning and I was really happy with my lines, but the wind changed and I wasn't prepared for it, so as I entered the track I felt a little bit behind the plane. In the vertical turn I drifted and hit the pylon. It's disappointing, because if my time was clean, I would've won."
6th Baptiste Vignes
"I tried to not make any mistakes today and I didn't do too bad. My run was without penalties, which was my first goal, now I will think about my lines and the entry speed, because that was the most difficult part of this race, but that's not my focus. My focus is to fly clean and without mistakes, so it was good for me."
7th Kenny Chiang
"I was distracted by something just before I entered the track and in a high pressure sport like this you can't get distracted. I'm upset, but it wasn't a piloting error in the track so I can learn from it. It was only my third race so I've still got lots to learn."
8th Kevin Coleman
"I'm really annoyed with myself. I saw the other guys' times and thought I could fly a little conservatively. I'd been flying aggressively all week and it had worked out for me – the one time I try to hold back and rein it in, I hit the pylon and lose. I'm really angry right now."
Tomorrow the Challengers will race again, follow all the action, live, right HERE.