Chiba 2019: Round of 14 Preview

It’s the first heats of the final race

The countdown has begun for the World Championship decider. Here’s how they line up for the Round of 14…

Heat 1
Ben Murphy v Yoshihide Muroya

These two have previously met twice in the Round of 14 and so far it’s one win apiece. Murphy was honest yesterday saying that he couldn’t find his form so far, but knows how to beat Muroya. Muroya on the other hand has his home race and the World Championship to think of. This one could go either way, it all depends on who keeps their feet on the ground. 

Heat 2
Pete McLeod v Matthias Dolderer

These two would both love to end this season on a high. It’s been tough in recent seasons with only glimpses of success. Dolderer struggled here in the early stages, but pulled it all together for Qualifying. McLeod on the other hand topped the FP3 timesheet, but had two bad runs in Qualifying. He does have the advantage of flying first and if he puts a clean run in, Dolderer will need to pull out all the stops.

Heat 3
Mika Brageot v Petr Kopfstein

These two have only met once before and it was here, in Chiba, last year. Brageot was the victor then and will be looking for a repeat performance. Both these former Challengers would love to go through here, but neither of them have been at their best in this heat. The coolest pilot on the day that sticks to their tactics will be the one to progress.

Heat 4
Cristian Bolton v François Le Vot

Bolton has had a terrible week so far; he missed out on two FP sessions due to technical issues with his raceplane and then struggled in the following flying sessions. He’ll want to make amends here today. Le Vot has been flying exceptionally well and has said it’s because he’s happy and relaxed. If he can stay in that frame of mind, he’ll be through to the Round of 8.

Heat 5
Michael Goulian v Matt Hall

Hall needs to go through here if he’s to achieve his dream of being World Champion. The Aussie will be firing on all cylinders and will make the most of his last day in the track. Goulian hasn’t been performing as well as he would’ve liked, but if there’s one pilot that can switch it on today it’s Goulian. The pilot that blinks first in this heat, loses. 

Heat 6
Nicolas Ivanoff v Martin Sonka 

Ivanoff has been ‘behind the plane’ all week and will need to be at his absolute best if he is to beat the current World Champion. Sonka is going for his second title in a row and knows it’s within his reach. He’s six points ahead of second place and knows how to handle pressure. All he’ll be thinking about though is error-free flying.

Heat 7
Kirby Chambliss v Juan Velarde

Chambliss has an underpowered engine that he’s been unable to fix so far. He’s pushed as hard as he can but that has led to mistakes in the track and has cost him. So far this week we’ve seen a very determined Velarde who hasn’t finished out of the top two in every session. Can he keep this form and go all the way to the Final 4? Time will tell. 

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