This weekend in Kazan we will see back-to-back races in the Challenger Cup – appropriate for the sports capital of Russia with the rescheduled Chiba race taking place on Saturday and a thrilling Kazan race on the Sunday.
This will give the Challenger Class pilots a fantastic opportunity to make their mark on the season and start to pull away from their rivals, especially without Championship leader Florian Bergér competing this weekend. It's a great chance to shake up the standings. Here's how they are lining up this weekend...
Mélanie Astles – racing Saturday and Sunday
Astles will be itching to get back in the track. The Anglo-French pilot has not raced since February in Abu Dhabi, where she finished in third. That was a performance she carried on from the final race of the 2016 season, so long breaks don't seem to alter her form. She could claim the first race win of her Red Bull Air Race career this weekend.
Kenny Chiang – racing Saturday and Sunday
Chiang impressed last time out in Budapest. He laid down some impressive times in Qualifying, but couldn't follow through on Race Day as the pressure seemed to get to him. As he continues to gain more time in the track he'll become more competitive and start focusing on the podium.
Kevin Coleman – racing Saturday and Sunday
The American last raced over home soil in San Diego where he finished second just behind Florian Bergér. Without the German pilot, Coleman will be eyeing up the competition and think he stands a good chance of winning.
Luke Czepiela – racing Saturday
After a shaky start, Luke Czepiela is in fine form and will be fired up for this race. His last two races have seen him collect third and second place finishes so he'll be hoping to go one step further and land the top spot.
Daniel Genevey – racing Saturday
Genevey won Qualifying in Budapest, a strong performance for a pilot in only his second Red Bull Air Race. Once again the pressure of Race Day got to Genevey and he struggled in the competition, but he now knows he can fly fast and accurately, so he'll be racing with confidence.
Ben Murphy – racing Saturday and Sunday
Murphy is another pilot who has had a long break. He flew in the season opener in Abu Dhabi and has had to wait five months for his second chance of the season. The former Red Arrows pilot will want to start climbing that leader board and challenging for the top.
Daniel Ryfa – racing Saturday and Sunday
Ryfa is second in the standings and has a first and a third place to his name so far this season. He will be fully focused on capitalising on this weekend. There are a maximum of 20 points up for grabs in Kazan and if Ryfa can claim them, he'll be sitting on top of the standings.
Baptiste Vignes – racing Saturday and Sunday
Vignes is sitting sixth in the championship – that's a solid performance for a man in his first season. He is growing as an Air Race pilot with every run. He is committed to becoming Challenger Champion and is working hard to achieve this dream. Could this race be his breakthrough?
Saturday – Chiba rescheduled race
Sunday – Kazan race
Catch all the action over the weekend HERE.