The 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship Challenger Cup has been a wild rollercoaster of a ride. The pilots have been fighting it out all season to be in with a chance of taking the title here in Las Vegas. It's so close. There are three pilots sitting at the top of the standings on 28 points, and four of the pilots have won a race this season, so anybody could take the coveted trophy. Here's how they line up:
The French pilot has won the last two races and is hitting form just at the right time. Over the season his results have constantly improved and he will be hoping to make it three in a row and taking the Challenger Cup title at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In 2014 Brageot finished third here, he'll be hoping for better this year.
At the Las Vegas round in 2014 Kopfstein finished second, so will have happy memories of the round. His season this year has seen a couple of dips in form, including finishing last at Fort Worth last month. Kopfstein has, along with Mikael Brageot and Daniel Ryfa, claimed two race victories this season. The Czech pilot is the current Challenger Cup Champion and knows how to win under pressure. Will the cards fall in his favour to give him a pair of aces in his final hand of 2015?
The ice-cold Swedish pilot will have his gameplan already worked out. He will be at a disadvantage to Brageot and Kopfstein, as he didn't race in Las Vegas last year. It won't faze him however, he finds his lines quickly and his strategy is to make tiny changes during Training to see what works best. He didn't race in Fort Worth, so he should be well relaxed and properly prepared for the final.
Bolton started this year in fine form by taking his first ever win in the Challenger Cup at the season opener in Abu Dhabi. He has also collected a second and a third place finish. He has the ability to take the title this weekend, but is up against stiff opposition and will have to fight for the win.
Podlunsek is another pilot coming into form just at the right time. He collected a second place at the last round in Fort Worth – his highest finish of the season – and that will inspire him to go one step further in the final. He will have to fly cleanly and penalty free for a chance to win.
Berger is in his debut season and has performed exceptionally well against the more experienced air racers in the Challenger Cup. At the penultimate race Berger claimed his first podium in the series. He'll be pleased to have made it to the final and he knows he will be up against some tough opposition, but this is Vegas and anything can happen!