Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service
In Saturday’s Qualifying for the Red Bull Air Race season finale at the USA’s historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, French pilot Mélanie Astles sped to the top time for her first career pole position. With less than 24 hours to go until the 2017 Challenger Cup is awarded, Poland and Great Britain were second and third on the timesheet.
INDIANAPOLIS (USA) – Astles is only the second woman to be a top qualifier for a major race in the 108-year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with auto racer Pippa Mann of Great Britain being the first (2010). The French pilot’s 1:18.059 set the standard for Race Day on Sunday, with 2016 Indianapolis race winner Luke Czepiela of Poland qualifying in second with 1:18.378 and Great Britain’s Ben Murphy close behind at 1:18.477.
“This is a nervous game, starting the race from the takeoff immediately,” said Astles, who became the first woman ever to earn a Red Bull Air Race podium with second place at Indianapolis in 2016. “This track is difficult because it’s hard to know where to make a difference, and once again in the Challenger Class everyone is so close, the times are so tight. Tomorrow will be a new challenge because the wind is going to change, so I’m going to erase everything now and start from zero again in the race.”
Now in its fourth season, in 2017 the Challenger Cup has given nine exceptional pilots the chance to develop their low-altitude flying skills under authentic racing conditions, with six spots available in the season finale, based on points. Czepiela, Germany’s Florian Bergér and Sweden’s Daniel Ryfa are the pilots with enough points to potentially claim the season Cup when the racing is over on Sunday, and Bergér, who is currently at the top of the leaderboard, is aiming to rewrite history by becoming the first pilot ever to take back-to-back Challenger titles. Also in the lineup, the USA’s Kevin Coleman is on the hunt for his first home win.
Good seats are still available for the final Race Day of the season – Sunday, 15 October 2017 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For information on tickets and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com
Results Challenger Class Qualifying, Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2017: 1. Mélanie Astles (FRA) 1:18.059, 2. Luke Czepiela (POL) 1:18.378, 3. Ben Murphy (GBR) 1:18.477, 4. Florian Bergér (GER) 1:18.586, 5. Kevin Coleman (USA) 1:20.402, 6. Daniel Ryfa (SWE) 1:21.408
ABOUT RED BULL AIR RACE
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship celebrated its landmark 75th race at the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 370kmh while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.
For more information please visit: www.redbullairracenewsroom.com