Yoshihide Muroya was in the form of his Red Bull Air Race World Championship career in the first half of the 2017 season. But after his back-to-back wins, he started to dip.
Muroya won in both San Diego and Chiba and followed that up with a third in Budapest, but then his luck changed. At race five, in Kazan, he collected five seconds worth of penalties in his Round of 14, which saw him finish the race in 13th.
In Portugal he had several technical issues with his raceplane and was unable to fly in Friday's Free Practice sessions. Even though he missed track time, he managed to finish sixth. These two results led to some commentators saying they thought Team Falken's season was on the slide, but that's clearly far from the case.
Last week's race in Laustiz was one of the most exciting the sport has seen and Muroya clinched victory over Matt Hall by just 0.395s. This pushed Muroya back up to second on the leaderboard, just four points behind Martin Sonka.
After the race Muroya was visibly happy to be back on top of the podium. "This was a big race for me and my team and for it to come at this point of the season, it really makes the game interesting," said Muroya. "In Indianapolis it will be an even bigger game. We are really satisfied with the win in Laustiz, it puts us in a good position for the final."
Muroya knows that all the attention will be on Sonka at the season finale and he will just have to go out there and do his best. "We are following Martin and hunting him. This makes the mind set easier for us. I think I'll be under less pressure than Martin in Indianapolis – for me the hunt is much more fun and I think I'll have fun in Indianapolis," he explained.
The win in Lausitz was the fourth of Muroya's career, his third this season, and his first over land. When asked if he thought this was a turning point for his racing and put him in a good position he responded: "I have always found land races a little more difficult than a water races, but I have built confidence after winning in Lausitz and it can only grow for the final."
You can see Yoshihide Muroya try and take the world championship at the season finale in Indianapolis on 14-15 October. Get your tickets HERE.