Germany grabs Challenger Class pole for Budapest Air Racing classic

Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service Team

As history’s 12th Red Bull Air Race in Budapest kicked off on Saturday, pilot Florian Bergér of Germany flew the fastest time in Qualifying for the Challenger Class race. Poland’s Luke Czepiela was second on the timesheet, with Hungary’s own Daniel Genevey raising cheers from the large crowds along the Danube in third.

Budapest, Hungary– Bergér is the defending Budapest winner in the second competition class of the Red Bull Air Race, and he is also looking for a third consecutive Challenger Cup championship this season. He managed 1:03.392 in a racetrack made bumpy by the wind whipping around Budapest’s buildings, with Czepiela clocking 1:03.754, while Genevey, who is hungry for his career-first race podium, and Mélanie Astles of France were also less than a second behind the leader.

A smiling Czepiela stated, “Last year Flo and I were first and second in the race. Now it’s the same in Qualifying, and I hope I can jump ahead, but second in Qualifying is feeling good.” He continued, “I’m always a bit of a slow starter at race stops, but this is how I did it last season – not so good in Free Practice but then doing pretty well in Qualifying and the race. Everything came together today, and I finally feel the aircraft how I want to, so I’m hoping for the best in the race tomorrow.”

This season 10 international standouts are vying for the Challenger Cup, which was conceived in 2014 to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship. The six-pilot field racing in Budapest also includes Baptiste Vignes (FRA) and Kenny Chiang (CHN).

Bergér seemed happy with his top result but is determined to maintain his focus. “This is very cool, but tomorrow is the race, and I hope I can do the same then,” said the German. “It is nice to fly in the middle of the city, over the Danube and in front of the Parliament building with lots of people watching – it’s a great feeling. As Abu Dhabi [February] was my last race, I have to get the feeling of the racetrack again and flying the plane, but I think I am on a good path and I hope I can keep it like that.”

See the classic! Race Day for both the Challenger Class and the Master Class in Budapest is Sunday, 24 June 2018. For all the latest news and how to watch, visit

Results Challenger Class Qualifying, Budapest 2018: 1. Florian Bergér (GER) 1:03.392, 2. Luke Czepiela (POL) 1:03.754, 3. Daniel Genevey (HUN) 1:04.204, 4. Mélanie Astles (FRA) 1:04.301, 5. Baptiste Vignes (FRA) 1:06.227, 6. Kenny Chiang (CHN) 1:10.219

Red Bull Air Race 2018 Calendar
2-3 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
20-22 April: Cannes, France
26-27 May: Chiba, Japa
23-24 June: Budapest, Hungary
25-26 August: Kazan, Russia
15-16 September: Wiener Neustadt, Austria
6-7 October: Indianapolis, USA
November: TBA

About Red Bull Air Race
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has held more than 80 races around the globe. 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 370 kmh while enduring forces of up to 12G 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.

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