Every pilot loves flying in Chiba – the track is technical, the fans are fantastic and you're always guaranteed a great race. Here's what they thought of today's action...
1st Matt Hall
"We like to think it's back to getting back to where we were a couple of years ago. We had to take a year off winning with our new raceplane, but we had two wins in a row before our MXS fell over in 2016 and now two in a row with our Edge. This one feels even better than the last race, which was a good win, but this was very hard fought. To have a Qualifying like yesterday and know we had to race the home favourite made for a rough morning. It's a team sport and we are proud of our team – they pulled it together and there wasn't a single error from anyone. I hope this race will be part of the calendar forever – the culture here is amazing. Everyone is so enthusiastic, I knock their guy out and they still embrace me."
2nd Michael Goulian
"I flew three really solid runs today and what I'm happy with is the consistency and the ability to ratchet my time up or down depending on who's flying in front of me. I've not been able to do that and fly cleanly, but also fast, and that's the difference. I couldn't be happier with where we are right now. The team is moving on all six cylinders, we're getting along great and everything is running well so if we just keep on this path we're going to have a great season – we've already had a great season – and we just want to keep on going."
3rd Martin Sonka
"It's very important to break the line and not get another technical DQ. Hopefully we won't get any because our plane is in Parc Fermé and being tested. For sure everything will be OK! There was still a little mistake in the Final 4 so I'm not 100 per cent happy, but a podium is still a great result for us."
4th Pete McLeod
"A great race for me, it shows a constant improvement so that's the bright side. I'm really satisfied with my flying. I haven't seen the footage of the penalty yet; I'm sure it was really close. I'd made everything really tight there and I'm sure I made it, but the big thing there was that I knew Martin had a penalty so I could've played it safe. But I went for the win and I have no regrets with that."
5th Mika Brageot
"The race week was a real navigation for us. We came from almost a disaster in Free Practice 1, 2 and 3, where we couldn't find our line and rhythm in the constantly changing winds. Finally we had a great feeling after finishing seventh in Qualifying, building confidence for today's race. And today's race was a step-by-step adventure, posting nice times in the Round of 14 and the Round of 8, but unfortunately ending in fifth position. We are still happy with this, but we're looking forward to the next one. The rhythm and the feeling in my plane and with my team are amazing. Through the week we had a fantastic feeling. So now we are consistent at this position, and we would like to move forward into the Final 4. Chiba is always something amazing. We know the fans are waiting for us. Everyone here is into Air Racing to the maximum, so that's a great feeling."
6th François Le Vot
"I've had a lot of fun here in Chiba and I was very well prepared. I had a lot of time to think about the event and came to Japan in total confidence and we could see from the very first practice flight that we were happy and in control of the situation and able to apply our gameplan properly. It was a really good race except for the Qualifying, but maybe that's due to exhaustion from all the flying, but we're happy. Well I'm the happiest, but the technician and tactician aren't happy because they always want more."
7th Juan Velarde
"It's been a surprising and amazing race. There was a big group of pilots that have all been really close to each other. In the Round of 14 five pilots were in half a second of each other and that's amazing. It's also been difficult. The conditions have been different every day. I was satisfied with the Round of 14, but in the Round of 8 the time wasn't as good and I was almost a second slower. I've got seventh place and we're happy with that."
8th Matthias Dolderer
"I've been ill for most of this week, which affected how I could pull G, and here there are always problems in the Vertical Turning Manoeuvres. I was feeling really well in the track, but I had trouble pulling more Gs and I had to release on the stick and it's been frustrating. Another week of learning. We'll try to correct it for Budapest."
9th Petr Kopfstein
"It's a great disappointment because we thought our time would be enough to move to the Round of 8, but Mika pushed hard. It looks like ninth place is our nightmare for 2018. I think the flying is clean – not risky so we can't get super-fast times, but I think the aeroplane is not one of the super-fast ones. We have modifications in the pipeline, but not until after Budapest, so we have to stay focused for one more race and hopefully then we'll be there."
10th Cristian Bolton
"Today the conditions were perfect, almost calm. It's a process of improvement for us as a team, so we were happy with the result because 57.003 was our best time of the week. Of course I wasn't happy to lose in the Round of 14, but that's the beauty of the sport. Pete had a good run, very difficult to beat. Chiba is an amazing venue, the connection we have with the fans is unique. They are always here around the airport, around the racetrack it's full of people, they are always cheering you. They love the sport, and they make you feel at home."
11th Ben Murphy
"We had technical issues in Qualifying and then we were facing Goulian today, the same as Cannes. The gameplan was to fly a clean run and try to get around the track without penalties. We learned a lot this week, and that's what this first year is all about, so we're pretty happy. Budapest? I have never raced there before, so for us it's a brand new racetrack. We were pretty happy with our new winglets here and will be looking at making a few more minor adjustments."
12th Nicolas Ivanoff
"My feeling in the plane was quite nice and I tried to be smooth in the chicane, but I made a huge mistake in the second VTM, and I lost a lot of time. We had some engine cooling problems before Cannes and it was too hot. I hope we will have some time to check everything again before Budapest. It's time for me to change all these things. We should have our winglets on for Budapest and I hope the engine will be good."
13th Kirby Chambliss
"The difference from Qualifying was that today is a race and yesterday it wasn't. I made a mistake, I was a little late going into Gate 6. I'm super disappointed and really angry at myself, but things happen – that's racing. The conditions are perfect, it's just a mistake. It's fractions of a second and if you're not set up to go through Gate 6 good, you're not going to make Gate 7. It's really painful when you don't make it into the Round of 8 and it does mess with you after you've been used to being there, but, hey, we've been doing this a long time and we know there are ups and downs."
14th Yoshihide Muroya
"It doesn't feel so great, but we learned many things from this race and we have another five races to go. So we will just concentrate on the next round and forget the bad things. It's good to learn from the mistake. I felt good and relaxed, but the plane was carrying more speed and energy and I went over the G limit. I don't know if the tail affected the over-G, but I felt good with more energy in my arms, and maybe that caused it. For Budapest there are things we can work on, a more stable setup and my G pulling technique, so many things."