Fort Worth 2018: Master Class Race Day reactions

The pilots have the final word on a spectacular season

Joy for Sonka

Eight races, seven countries, three continents and one unbelievable World Championship. The 2018 Red Bull Air Race has been one to remember and the pilots speak about how the final Race Day went for them...

1st Martin Sonka
"It's a different story than last season, and it's my biggest sporting achievement. Unfortunately, the only thing that I missed was having Mikey in the Final 4 as well, but it was a beautiful race. I think everyone, especially the Czech spectators, enjoyed it. For the last flight I managed to have a clear head. I heard that Matt flew a super time and I knew I had to push harder and definitely not do a penalty or mistake, and I managed. I cannot be happier."

2nd Matt Hall
"It was an interesting day. We stuck to our gameplan, which was one round at a time. We focused and honed each run and did what we needed to do get through. I had to beat Martin in the Final 4 and as I had to fly first, I went all out. That was as far as I was going to push without getting a penalty. To come out with the time I did, it was fast for the day, and to sit in the hold and hear Martin get that time was disappointing, third time second in the world, and once third. So four times on the overall podium is a good stat on its own, but to not have won it yet is pretty frustrating."

3rd Kirby Chambliss
"It feels great. I was hoping for the first spot as always. I went out there and did what I thought I needed to do. I was a little bit disappointed with the time, and surprised with the other guys' times, but hey, I'm happy to be on the podium. It's a good start for 2019 and we'll be fast."

4th Ben Murphy
"It's the fairytale ending of our first season. When I think back to that first race in Abu Dhabi, I don't think we could've thought that we could achieve this much in such a short space of time. I'm ecstatic, not just for me, but for the whole team as well. It was a really difficult race, we just couldn't dial it in in Free Practice and Quali. And when I came to the Race Airport today I didn't expect to be in the Final 4. But what a way to go into 2019."

5th Yoshihide Muroya
"I felt really good today. I was good in the Round of 8 but Kirby made an unbelievably fast time in the heat, so we're unlucky not to have got to the Final 4, but I'm very satisfied with the flight. With the weather changing it's not good for the pilot, but it's a good test of the pilot's skill. I was OK today so I'm pleased."

6th Mika Brageot
"I felt comfortable in the plane, and in the racetrack the feeling was really great. I went through the Round of 14 to the Round of 8 and unfortunately didn't do as well as I expected there, but I'm quite happy with the overall results. Being in the top part of the standings was one of our targets for the season, after having a very nice first year in the Master Class. We did a lot of work as a team, me as a pilot, and and on the aircraft and tactics, so the overall state of mind in our team has led us to have high targets. I think of it as a very, very good start towards 2019."

7th Juan Velarde
"Today was a very challenging day due to the different conditions from yesterday. We had a big change in wind and temperature so everything behaved differently today. It was a new track. I got good lines in the Round of 14 and I tried the same in the Round of 8, but I was on the wrong line so when I went to avoid the pylon I picked up a penalty. Overall it's been good, I've been competitive and we've climbed two steps in the Championship so we're happy."

8th Michael Goulian
"We had an engine problem in the Round of 14 and it put me in the back, so I had to fly against Martin – and he's been flying fast all week, so we knew we had to go out there and try to win. I would've kicked myself if I'd gone out there, flew safely and lost by half a second. It's been an amazing year for me and my team and I wouldn't change it at all. We'll be back stronger next year."

9th Nicolas Ivanoff
"It's really good to race in Fort Worth; I like to race in these kinds of speedways. In the past I've done well here, but not this year. It was not a good weekend at all for me. I had to take a lot of risk to try to beat Martin and I was a little bit too fast in the Start Gate and got a penalty. Even without the penalty, Martin would have beaten me. For me, this season was a disaster from the start because we had damage to the plane, and the repairs took longer than expected. Fortunately, we did have a good result at Indianapolis, but now I'm looking forward to next season and working hard to improve over the winter."

10th François Le Vot
"I made mistakes that could've been avoided, but we're happy with the raw timing we made in this run, but maybe I could've followed my feelings a bit more. We decided to go full force because that had been the tactic we applied when we have done well in the past, but it didn't work this time. We are disappointed because I think we could've made the Final 4 this time."

11th Pete McLeod
"I went out there and tried to put down a good time and enjoy the run, but unfortunately I got a pylon. With the wind being different I just misjudged it and it is what it is. The net time was OK and I executed the track as I wanted to except of course for the pylon hit."

12th Petr Kopfstein
"We knew that we had to take a risky line to beat Yoshi. He has a fast raceplane, he's flying good. So we just did what we could and it didn't work out this time. As in some of the other races this season, we take it as a huge learning experience, and we're looking forward to 2019 with a new engine, new systems coming up, and hopefully we'll be quicker and more consistent. Of course, looking at the World Championship standings we're not happy at all, but on the other side, we learned a lot more than we did last season when we were fifth. So from this perspective we take it positively and we will bring a lot of experience into next year. We just stay focused and positive, and hope for a better season in 2019."

13th Matthias Dolderer
"I came into this round pretty confident after Qualifying, but the problems started when I was in the hold and as I prepared for racing I set up the power and couldn't get it to full power, which slowed me down. The penalties were silly. But we take that we can be fast into next season and hopefully I can find the consistency and bring the speed into Race Day."

14th Cristian Bolton
"We were looking to beat Mikey, but it was challenging out there weather-wise today. It was colder so the plane reacts way, way, more faster than yesterday. I heard Mikey's time when I was in the hold and thought I could beat his time, but I got into the track and had the over-G. I saw on the big screen that my net time was faster and thought I was doing well. But that's part of racing."