With just one showdown left before the Red Bull Air Race World Champion is crowned, Japan’s Yoshihide Muroya launched himself to second overall with a brilliant win at Germany’s Lausitzring on Sunday. Australia’s Matt Hall finished the race in second, and in clinching third place, Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic held on to the top of the overall leaderboard – just barely.
Šonka and Muroya came into the Lausitzring at first and fourth in the World Championship standings, and when they both made the Final 4, the busloads of Czech fans in the sold-out crowd were on their feet. Once Hall set the standard with 50.846, Muroya was next to go, and he blazed ahead with a time of 50.451. After Spain’s Juan Velarde incurred a penalty, it was all in Šonka’s hands. The Czech ace flew strong at 50.964. Not quite strong enough for the win, but his third-place points gave his supporters plenty to celebrate.
The Lausitzring results have guaranteed that the season finale at the USA’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be unmissable. One of four pilots will seize the World Championship at the world-famous “Brickyard” speedway. At the top of the overall leaderboard, Šonka has 63 points, Muroya is just 4 points back with 59, and Canada’s Pete McLeod is well within reach at 56. Each will be determined to capture what would be their first overall title and the first for their country. Meanwhile, at 52 points Kirby Chambliss retains a chance to overthrow them all, and the American will have the advantage of home crowd support as well as his experience earning two previous titles.
“It’s a win, so of course it’s very, very satisfying. We had a hard time in Kazan and Porto, then we prepared very well, so thanks to all of my team members,” said a beaming Muroya. “We knew we would be able to fight for the championship this year. The plan for Indianapolis is easy: just go fast and go get the win.”
Now the race teams and their fans have four high-pressure weeks to wait until the season reaches its climax at Indianapolis on 14-15 October.
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Results Master Class Lausitzring 2017:
1. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 2. Matt Hall (AUS), 3. Martin Šonka (CZE), 4. Juan Velarde (ESP), 5. Pete McLeod (CAN), 6. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 7. Mikaël Brageot (FRA), 8. Petr Kopfstein (CZE), 9. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 10. François Le Vot (FRA), 11. Cristian Bolton (CHI), 12. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 13. Peter Podlunšek (SLO), 14. Michael Goulian (USA)
World Championship standings after seven of eight races:
1. Martin Šonka (CZE) 63 points, 2. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 59 pts, 3. Pete McLeod (CAN) 56 pts, 4. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 52 pts, 5. Matt Hall (AUS) 37 pts, 6. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 37 pts, 7. Juan Velarde (ESP) 28 pts, 8. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 27 pts, 9. Michael Goulian (USA) 24 pts, 10. Mikaël Brageot (FRA) 19 pts, 11. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 16 pts, 12. Peter Podlunšek (SLO) 14 pts, 13. François Le Vot (FRA) 9 pts, 14. Cristian Bolton (CHI) 7 pts