Indianapolis, USA – Goulian’s victory in front of over 40,000 home fans over the weekend was hard fought, especially when he barely made it out of Sunday’s opening round as the fastest loser. Meanwhile, his two remaining rivals for the World Championship, Czech pilot Martin Sonka and Australia’s Matt Hall, stumbled, as American Kirby Chambliss outflew Sonka in the Round of 14, and Hall hit a pylon in the Round of 8. In the Final 4, Goulian was rock solid, delivering a time of 1:06.208. Canada’s McLeod, a dangerous threat as the third-place finisher in Indianapolis in 2016, took it down to the wire, but lost time in the racetrack to finish over a half-second behind the jubilant American.
“It’s a big day. Right now, the season doesn’t even mean anything, because to win at Indy is amazing,” said Goulian, his emotion evident as he realized that he would be able to kiss the famous Indy bricks like the Indianapolis 500 heroes of his childhood. “Sometimes the day just works out for you, and today it did. It feels great to win here. The last race in Wiener Neustadt [where he finished 12th] was just an outlier, like this race for Matt and Martin. Everybody wanted a fight to the finish for the World Championship, and that’s what they’re going to get.”
After sliding to third place overall, Goulian’s Indianapolis result propelled him back to the top of the standings at 70 points, while Sonka is now second at 65 and Hall holds 63. With only seven total points separating the trio, only one thing is sure – the season finale in Fort Worth, Texas this November will crown a first-time Red Bull Air Race World Champion.
See the showdown that decides the World Championship: Tickets for the 2018 Red Bull Air Race season finale at Texas Motor Speedway on 17-18 November are on sale now. For more information on tickets and every exciting update, visit www.redbullairrace.com
Results Master Class, Indianapolis 2018: 1. Michael Goulian (USA), 2. Pete McLeod (CAN), 3. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 4. Ben Murphy (GBR), 5. Cristian Bolton (CHI), 6. Matt Hall (AUS), 7. Juan Velarde (ESP), 8. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 9. Mika Brageot (FRA), 10. Martin Sonka (CZE), 11. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 12. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 13. Petr Kopfstein (CZE), 14. François Le Vot (FRA)
World Championship standings after seven races:1. Michael Goulian (USA) 70 points, 2. Martin Sonka (CZE) 65 pts, 3. Matt Hall (AUS) 63 pts, 4. Mika Brageot (FRA) 36 pts, 5. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 34 pts, 6. Pete McLeod (CAN) 27 pts, 7. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 25 pts, 8. Ben Murphy (GBR) 22 pts, 9. François Le Vot (FRA) 21 pts, 10. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 20 pts, 11. Juan Velarde (ESP) 20 pts, 12. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 17 pts, 13. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 16 pts, 14. Cristian Bolton (CHI) 12 pts
Blades Racing Team finish in the top 4 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway
In the penultimate race of the Blades first Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Ben Murphy beats both Yoshi Muroya and Kirby Chambliss to secure his first ever top four finish.
The team spent the week leading up to race day making a few modifications to the plane, and struggled getting to grips with all the systems. As a result, the performance of the pilot and the team was lower than in previous races, and was quite clear in the Free Practice sessions, being considerably off of the pace.
Qualification offered some promise as Murphy set down a solid time of 1:06:848 in difficult wind conditions, however this was only good enough to secure a 10th place finish at the end of the session. Murphy’s fate was sealed, and the team were to face Muroya for the first time this season in the Round of 14.
With the Championship so close, points were the main aim for the Blades Racing Team today, and as such the tactics were not to outright beat Muroya but to put down a solid time in hope of going through as the fastest loser to the Round of 8.
Murphy laid down a 1:07:130, nearly two seconds off of Muroya’s pace the previous day. Getting through to the next round was looking less and less likely, but as his opponent turned into Gate 13 he received an incorrect level, adding two seconds to his time. Murphy was through to his fourth final 8 of his rookie season.
A familiar face was up next; that of USA’s Kirby Chambliss, who the Blades have faced twice previously throughout the season. Now with the mixture settings in the plane spot on, Murphy achieved an incredible 1:05:428, putting an immense amount of pressure on the previous World Champion who flew second.
The Blades flew into the final four for the first time with ease, with Chambliss picking up a 2 second penalty; now the test was on to see if Murphy could make it a first podium for his first season in the Red Bull Air Race Master Class.
Unfortunately, the team experienced the same issues that had plagued them previously in the week and the plane underperformed in the final four, leaving Murphy in fourth position and a bitter sweet best all time finish.
“What this week has shown is that we have a fast plane when we get everything right, and our goal now is to get on that podium.”
The Blades Racing Team sit in 8th position now in the World Championship standings. Make sure to watch the last race of the season next month in Fort Worth, Texas, to see if Murphy and the team can go that one step further and lift a trophy!