In the first-ever Red Bull Air Race World Championship Qualifying session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Japan’s Yoshihide Muroya sped ahead of his opponents – and the raindrops – to clinch the pole position with a track record. World Championship leader Matthias Dolderer bounced back from a tough start, while Matt Hall of Australia and Nigel Lamb of Great Britain showed they have a lot of gas left in the tank. Sunday is Race Day in Indy
The suspense was nonstop as every pilot took a first Qualifying run, landed, and – interrupted by two rain delays in all – flew again, with the best of the two times counting. It was an especially intense test for Australia’s Hall, who was recovering from a stomach ailment. The Australian, who has won the last two races, is the only pilot left in the field with a chance to overtake Dolderer before the World Champion is crowned in Las Vegas on 16 October; and if the German wins tomorrow, he’ll clinch the title in Indy.
“We all have to be good pilots to be here,” said Muroya, who in Race Day’s opening Round of 14 will face off against Cristian Bolton, a Chilean making his Master Class debut in Indianapolis. “The track looks simple, but actually it’s up and down. However, it’s easier for my technician and engineer than at other races because they’re from the United States, so they’re very happy.”
Besides pole position, Muroya also earned his first DHL Fastest Lap Award, a component introduced in 2016 that defines a new standard of speed at the Red Bull Air Race. At the end of the season, the pilot with the most awards will be honored with the DHL Fastest Lap trophy. Dolderer holds the lead with two awards from previous stops.
The home hero Americans in the Master Class field, Kirby Chambliss and Michael Goulian, finished in the middle of the Qualifying pack at eighth and ninth. In Challenger Class Qualifying earlier in the day, it was American Kevin Coleman clocking the best time as he flew in home skies for the first time in his racing career.
Results Master Class Qualifying, Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
1. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 1:02.073,
2. Matt Hall (AUS) 1:02.255,
3. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 1:03.209,
4. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 1:03.378,
5. Juan Velarde (ESP) 1:04.052,
6. Martin Šonka (CZE) 1:04.144,
7. Pete McLeod (CAN) 1:04.185,
8. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 1:04.516,
9. Michael Goulian (USA) 1:05.043,
10. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 1:05.267,
11. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 1:05.500,
12. François Le Vot (FRA) 1:05.785,
13. Peter Podlunšek (SLO) 1:06.349,
14. Cristian Bolton (CHI) 1:07.408
Race Day for the new Indy heroes of both the Master Class and the Challenger Class is Sunday, 2 October 2016.