Kazan 2018: Master Class Race Day reactions

The pilots share their thoughts from Race Day

The three winners celebrate

It's been one of the best races in the history of the sport. The pilots offer their opinions on the Red Bull Air Race's second visit to Russia...

1st Martin Sonka

"This was definitely one of the most difficult races we have ever experienced because we were struggling with everything here. Nothing was working for us, so it was a great team effort to put it together today. All the work that went behind this result makes it even better. For me personally, I'm not thinking about the season itself. Now we can start to think about the next race in Wiener Neustadt, and that's another task in front of us. We have to be focused."

2nd Michael Goulian

"It feels amazing to be racing back in Kazan. And you know, five races, four podiums, and we just have lots and lots of confidence. It feels really good and I like how we're doing and how the team is progressing. I feel my flying today is the best I've done all year. I went out there today to win this race, not just get more points. I heard Kirby's time which I knew was fast so I had to step on it and that's what I did, although Martin flew that little bit faster. It was a great result for all of us."

3rd Kirby Chambliss
"I consistently got faster throughout the race and the luck has just always gone the other way for us this year, but today I got the luck. I think we were just 0.1s away from first, so it was a super tight race and everyone enjoyed it – it was a knuckle biter. We haven't given up, we're just going to go out there and try and win every race. And we'll collect the points and see what happens."

4th Juan Velarde

"I'm very happy with the result, it's been a very good weekend and we have been very competitive from the beginning. That has given us a big push a little further up in the championship. We will gain some good positions and a lot of confidence, this is how we want to work. We improved the raceplane just a little bit which helps and I think my mental preparation for this race has been good. I've been very focused, very calm and we've been doing good analysis. We've been very close to the podium and we're there and it's what we have to aim for."

5th Ben Murphy
"There's still a lot to learn, but the team is in a really good place. We're happy with the aeroplane now, happy with the flying and the way we're putting the preparation together. It went pretty much as per our gameplan. The only icing on the cake could have been a Final 4 round, but that will come soon, we hope. The plan for this race was to really go hard in Qualifying, and if we could get a good position in Qualifying, it would set us up for the race. And that's exactly what we did – we got a fourth in Quali and then a fifth overall. So really happy. It's our first season, we're learning so much about the aeroplane, how to set it up, how to fly it. So we'll go away from here with lots of valuable lessons learned, ready to take to Austria. We started the season with a sixth in Abu Dhabi, so a fifth here, and hopefully a Final 4 sometime soon."

6th François Le Vot
"It was a fantastic venue here in Kazan, it's great. I had a very good memory of last year and here once again we are very happy with our race. Our timings were very consistent, and that's the most important. We're on the way of being fast and competitive. Now we have to keep up this consistency, and we really have to work on the engine because we suspect the raceplane is not giving everything it should. If I can maintain this state of mind until the end of the season, that will be fantastic. I'm having fun, I'm improving, and I'm convinced that it's while having fun that we improve the most. So let's keep it this way and work hard to have fun, and I'm sure very good surprises will arise."

7th Matt Hall

"The flight was on rails. I was hitting all my lines; I knew I nailed the VTM. So I was on the back straight and I relaxed thinking I had it in the bag. I over-pulled the turn and I saw the gate, and I was like, 'Yeah, I'm going to hit that.' There was nothing I could do about it at that point. I saw it coming and just had had to go through it. There are still races to come. I'm happy with how I'm flying, I'm happy with how the team's got the plane going. The plane's rocking. So it's a hiccup, and this is our bad race for the year."

8th Yoshihide Muroya

"The flight was very solid and we set the track record. We don't know why we exceeded the RPM, it's never happened before. It happened after the VTM, but we don't know why. There are still three races to go, and we'll never give up. We'll focus on each session at a time and see how we go."

9th Petr Kopfstein

"This track doesn't really fit our style or the aerodynamics of our raceplane, so I was struggling from the very beginning. But we played with the cards we had and I gave it my all. The faster guy won and we have to learn from it – maybe get bigger winglets. We're learning with every race."

10th Nicolas Ivanoff

"My result was not good, so I have to think about the next one to learn about the mistake I did today – a huge one. My team said I pulled too late and I didn't see it, so I have to analyse this with the video. We are going to try to improve the scores, and I have to stay optimistic and positive and think about the future. My goal is to fly well and have a good result for the next three races."

11th Pete McLeod

"I'm disappointed with myself, it's a mistake I shouldn't make. I came out of the chicane and I didn't really fully commit out of the turn and I had some drift going and I had to correct to get out of the way of the pylon. I shouldn't have made that mistake; the conditions were perfect. It's limited on what could happen for the rest of the season now, so we're focused on preparing the raceplane for next season."

12th Mika Brageot

"First of all, here in Kazan we had a very, very nice race week. The team was strong and we worked on the raceplane very efficiently, so we knew that we were ready. Yesterday Quali didn't really go as expected because we had this pylon hit on the first run and I had to secure a safe time on the second run, ending up fifth. In the top half of the table, of course, but unfortunately against Matt Hall today. But that's part of the competition. We know that it's tough. So that was the sport today, I did not make it through the Round of 14, but it was the worst race of the season and I have to have one. We have achieved the Final 4 and a podium, and we had been in the Round of 8 since Porto last year, so the tactic works well. We know what we have to do, it's just unfortunate that sometimes the luck is not with us, but we will continue to work according to our plans. We will be back in Wiener Neustadt – stronger, better, and faster, I hope!"

13th Matthias Dolderer

"It's a pity. It's racing and that can happen. We tried the fastest lines and I had a really good feeling up until that point. It was just a few centimetres, but it's not reversible. I know the speed is there, I'm fit again and that's the most important thing, so we just take the positive notes and think towards Wiener Neustadt."

14th Cristian Bolton

"The race was great. It's a great venue. The connection with the fans has been good all week. It was bad I lost the heat in the Round of 14. I don't like to lose and I got a penalty, I will have to check the videos. I think I need a little bit of luck and we'll see what happens in the next race."