With only the Training sessions under their belt this weekend, the Challenger pilots headed out for their final runs in the Spielberg racetrack as Round 6 of the Challenger Cup got underway in Austria. It was ultimately France's Mika Brageot who held his nerve and grabbed victory but not without a fight from the rest of the pack.
Brageot held the upper hand this afternoon, having acquired a relatively comfortable half-second lead in Training on Friday. Both Petr Kopfstein and Daniel Ryfa were chasing Brageot, and with a solid track record of podium finishes between the Czech and Swedish pilots, Brageot knew that he had to remain calm and focused to grab the win in Spielberg.
Germany's Florian Berger also put in a strong performance in the Training session, earning a second place finish in T2 and was tipped for his first podium finish of the season, but it was not to be on Race Day. Nerves seemed to stunt the German pilot's performance as he grappled to find any kind of speed from his raceplane.
For Kopfstein, who was looking to build on his second and third place finishes in Training, it was a better day at the office. Kopfstein laid down his own challenge by clocking in a new Spielberg Challenger record at 1:05.702, shaving off half a second from Brageot's Training 1 first place finish time. Slovenia's Peter Podlunsek was unable to answer Kopfstein, but Brageot firmly answered the call, with a stunning 1:05.576 in his second run.
Only Sweden's Daniel Ryfa could take victory from Brageot's grasp, but a DNF result in his first run due to exceeding the start speed limit appeared to put Ryfa off his game. The Swedish pilot struggled to retain his form as he worked his way through the Austrian racetrack, ultimately finishing in third place, 1.5s off Brageot's pace.
Here are the Challenger Cup official results: