After dominating the Free Practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, Cristian Bolton followed up and kept the USA's Kevin Coleman at bay with a decisive win Challenger Cup today in Chiba.
The Chilean military pilot held his nerve with a quick and clean error-free run, ultimately posting the fastest time of 1:15.747 on the coastal one-lap track. France's Melanie Astles was first out on the Japanese racetrack, and set the bar with a pacey 1:17.730, followed by Britain's Ben Murphy.
For Race Day, Murphy put in his first penalty-free run, but could not match Astles' pace. The French pilot was quickly toppled from the top of the timesheets by Bolton with a clear margin of 1.767s. Only Kevin Coleman appeared to contest Bolton's dominance, with the American pilot having posted a 1:15.884 in his Free Practice 2 session on Friday. But on Race Day, although Coleman's penalty-free performance was smoother and confident, the 2016 newcomer could not answer with a victorious run, and had to settle for another impressive second place finish.
Poland's Luke Czepiela was another Challenger who navigated a final error-free run in the Chiba track, but Czepiela's run was only fast enough to push Astles out of the running for her first podium place.
Last out on the track was Brazil's Francis Barros, who picked up the only penalty of the day for the Challenger Cup with a pylon hit at Gate 7, a move that cost him dearly and relegated the Brazilian to the bottom of the timesheets.
With his consistent podium finishes so far this season, Kevin Coleman moves to the top of the Challenger Cup standings with 24 points overall.