Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service Team
Looking for back-to-back wins in Budapest, Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class pilot Florian Bergér clocked the top time across two Free Practice sessions in the Hungarian capital on Friday. Two French pilots, Mélanie Astles and Baptiste Vignes, also impressed as the only others in the field to complete runs under 64 seconds.
Budapest, Hungary– Budapest holds good memories for Bergér: he won the race at the classic Red Bull Air Race stop last year on his way to a second consecutive season Challenger Cup championship. But it was Vignes who created his own special moment right from the first session on Friday, logging a result of 1:03.898 to top a Free Practice leaderboard for the first time since he joined the sport in 2017.
“It was a good surprise and I’m happy about this for sure. But the most important will be on Sunday,” Vignes said, referring to Race Day. “The track is very fast, and it is also very good to fly in Budapest, inside the city, on the Danube and in front of the Parliament. It’s amazing – just unique to fly here.”
In a windy Free Practice 2, Bergér’s 1:03.244 was the time to beat, and only Astles came close, with 1:03.767. “My last race was in Abu Dhabi in February, so it was a long break and now I have to find my way again in the track,” Bergér stated. “The afternoon Free Practice was more windy than the morning session, a slightly different wind direction as well, and it was more bumpy. The key points on this track are the vertical turning maneuver in the south and the north, and I think probably taking a different line if there is no wind.”
Introduced in 2014, the Challenger Cup is the second competition category in the Red Bull Air Race, designed to help pilots build on their existing experience to develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that competes for the World Championship. This year, 10 pilots are in the Challenger Class lineup, including the other contenders flying over the Danube in Budapest, Kenny Chiang of China, Luke Czepiela of Poland and the home favorite flying for Hungary, Daniel Genevey.
Don’t miss the classic! Qualifying for both the Challenger Class and the Master Class in Budapest is Saturday, 23 June, with Race Day on Sunday, 24 June 2018. For more information on tickets and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com
Results Challenger Class Free Practice 1, Budapest 2018: 1. Baptiste Vignes (FRA), 1:03.898, 2. Kenny Chiang (CHN) 1:05.229, 3. Florian Bergér (GER) 1:05.320, 4. Luke Czepiela (POL) 1:06.616, 5. Daniel Genevey (HUN) 1:07.566, 6. Mélanie Astles (FRA) 1:13.056
Results Challenger Class Free Practice 2, Budapest 2018: 1. Florian Bergér (GER) 1:03.244, 2. Mélanie Astles (FRA) 1:03.767, 3. Baptiste Vignes (FRA) 1:05.529, 4. Kenny Chiang (CHN) 1:05.806, 5. Daniel Genevey (HUN) 1:05.972, 6. Luke Czepiela (POL) 1:06.179
Red Bull Air Race 2018 Calendar
2-3 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
20-22 April: Cannes, France
26-27 May: Chiba, Japan
23-24 June: Budapest, Hungary
25-26 August: Kazan, Russia
15-16 September: Wiener Neustadt, Austria
6-7 October: Indianapolis, USA
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.