Chiba 2019 Reactions: Master Class Race Day

The pilots speak with emotion after an outstanding season finale

What a race, what a season, what a motorsport. Once again the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has delivered. It’s been a fantastic race in Chiba. Here are the pilots' final words on the day…

1st Yoshihide Muroya
“I won the race and gave my best performance, so I’m happy with the result. This is my level of the year and Matt is only one point ahead. We’ve been rivals for a long time. I’m happy for him. I’ve won here three times now in front of my home crowd. I saw the fans before I crossed the finish line, it’s the first time I’ve seen that and I was feeling the energy from them That’s why I made it through as the Fastest Loser." 

2nd Kirby Chambliss
“Since we Qualified last, we thought we’d been counted out of a podium, but I’ve done this before and we weren’t out of it. We kept pushing. The fans here are amazing. You go down to the hotel lobby and people are giving you gifts. You can just feel the enthusiasm. It would’ve been nice to have been first, but it was great for Yoshi.”

3rd Matt Hall
“It is absolutely a huge relief. I was so worried that I would become the most famous bridesmaid in history, so to actually finally get it is a huge relief. It was becoming so frustrating. I feel we have earned it. There was pressure there today, I have been through this [a World Championship-deciding race] four times before. But there was more pressure this time because it was the last chance to do it with the race ending. I was trying to play it cool in front of the cameras and keep it on rails, but deep down it was a tough week. Today was a hard day emotionally. I try not to say that I deserve stuff, but we have always been there, and we have always been pushing the Championship leaders. To be on the podium five times for the Championship and not get one would have been something you don’t get over for the rest of your life. I can finally say I am a World Champion.” 

4th Pete McLeod
“It’s tough to reflect on just this season, it was strong. We really positioned ourselves as a good team. Finishing the series in Chiba is perfect. The race is special to these fans, like it is to me, and to be able to give them that final experience, it’s special. and We enjoy it as much as they do when that energy is there.”

5th Nicolas Ivanoff 
“To see Kirby close to me before the start it felt like 2003 in Tokol and we were starting again. It was great to have the race here and I’m so happy to have done all the races since 2005 and I’m so happy to have done the last flight with Kirby.”

6th Mika Brageot 
“I congratulate Matt Hall for winning the World Championship. We have given everything as a team and we are very proud of what we’ve done in the past few years and it’s been a really good feeling.”

7th François Le Vot 
“I’m a little bit disappointed with my last flight, I think I was pushing hard, but still I had some fun even with the two major mistakes. The fact that it was the last ever race didn’t count. I had something else, the race, to think about. Now that I see everyone dismantling the airport and people getting ready to go home it’ll get more emotional. The race only exists because we have fans, such a thing wouldn't exist without the public so it's good to think that they've been supporting us so intensively here in Japan. They’re the best fans in the world, they show us how much they love the race.”

8th Ben Murphy 
“It was a good end to the week. We’ve been struggling a little bit. To get to the Round of 8 was great. We got some penalties, I didn’t even realise I’d hit the pylon until after I’d come back from the VTM, I thought: ‘how did I hit that?’ It would’ve been good to go further. It would’ve been nice to go a bit further and mix it up with the leaders, but this is Matt’s year, congratulations to him for winning the Championship and congrats to Yoshi for winning the race. To finish fourth in only our second season was great. We couldn’t have wished for a better result than that.”

9th Michael Goulian
 “When you come to Chiba, you expect nothing but an amazing experience because of the fans. They make this race. Flying in Japan is just so special. My flying today was solid, but it wasn't amazing, and it would have had to be amazing to beat Matt Hall. The air was spongy today, and I didn’t pull quite hard enough. I didn't want to do something stupid and take a penalty, and it just wasn't quite fast enough. I have so many memories from the Red Bull Air Race. And when I think of places where I won – Budapest, Abu Dhabi and then at home in Indianapolis – winning in these iconic places for the sport, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

10th Juan Velarde
“It has been a great experience, as always, to race here. The fans are amazing and we have always felt very welcome here over the last five years. Especially in this moment, the last race of the series, it’s been very emotional, so it’s been great to be in Japan for this. Very, very special. It was a very strange run today. We had a clear plan for the wind conditions and I flew well, but it seems like the aeroplane wasn’t fast enough. We think maybe there was a change in the wind conditions between Kirby’s flight and mine, but the reality is the time wasn't good enough. But I’m very happy with result, especially with the Qualifying win yesterday. It’s a very good way to say farewell to the Red Bull Air Race.”

11th Cristian Bolton 
“On the way to the hold, I looked down at the beautiful bay and I knew there were thousands of people waiting for our flights. It’s the perfect place for the final race. It’s been an honour to fly here, and I’m really happy. It’s been a hard week for the team – we had an issue with the oil cooler, and it’s a long process to fix it, and that was hard on the team. This team is amazing, their energy is amazing. I have to say thank you, I’m proud to work with them. It’s a mental game out there. There are a lot of things going on. The wind conditions in Chiba are part of the Red Bull Air Race. This is a very technical track: you can lose 20kts in the Chicane if you don’t fly it correctly, but that’s why I love the sport. I have to say I’m a lucky guy to be able to do this as a job, and I’m looking forward to the future.”

12th Matthias Dolderer
“Flying the last session ever at the Red Bull Air Race was of course very emotional. I enjoyed it to the fullest, I had a really good time and my team had a really good time. The first thing I have to say is thank you to everyone who was involved in it. I will take a lot with me. I got to know about myself, my sport and other people. There’s been lots of ups and down, but we really had a good time." 

13th Martin Sonka 
“If course it’s a big disappointment for us. The wind was totally opposite of yesterday, and the air speed was higher entering the track, so we were faster in the pullups, and even though I was prepared for that, I pulled too much. In yesterday’s conditions it would probably have been OK. It was a stupid mistake, and it cost us. It was another amazing race here in Chiba, with all the fans, and our team and our performance until now were very good. Other than the mistakes, it was just incredible, and I am very happy the last Red Bull Air Race was here with these amazing people and in this amazing location.”

14th Petr Kopfstein
“I’m super happy I was part of this incredible sport. We pushed too hard. I probably had some wind gusts when entering the track, and I saw the start speed, so all the way through the run I hoped the instruments were wrong. It’s not the way we wanted to end up, but that’s racing, you push really hard and that’s the way it is. It’s super special to fly here in the last race of the season, and in history. It was an incredible journey, and I’m so honoured and proud to be part of it.”

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