The first Challenger Cup of the season wrapped up here in Abu Dhabi with a first win for Chilean pilot Cristian Bolton.
First up into the track was newcomer Francis Barros, whose first Challenger Cup final was quickly concluded with a Disqualification (DSQ). He was followed into the track by fellow newcomer Florian Berger and returnee Mika Brageot, who both put in clean performances to secure a result on the timesheets. Brageot took the top spot before Chile's Bolton put in the fastest performance of the day, with a penalty-free 01.02.231 performance.
It was a nervous wait as Bolton's closest rivals Ryfa and Kopfstein took to the track. Ryfa – who had consistently been a podium contender throughout 2014 – was soon out of the running for the top spot with a penalty on Gate 3. Kopfstein was last out on the track, and as the fastest Qualifier was set to take the top spot from Bolton. But after storming into the track, the split times were quickly in the red and Kopfstein couldn't recover his lost time, slipping into second behind Bolton in the final standings.
Bolton was clearly thrilled with his win. "I'm starting my second year in the Challenger Cup, so all that learning and experience is resulting in what happened for me today," he said. "My last flight was in Fort Worth, Dallas last year and I finished second, which I thought was great. But this? This is really exciting."
Here are the official Challenger Cup results:
Here are the overall standings for the 2015 Challenger Cup: