Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service
Two-time Challenger Cup winner Florian Bergér launched his campaign for a third consecutive title with a win at the Red Bull Air Race season opener in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Saturday. Luke Czepiela of Poland was second, while Kevin Coleman of the United States took third.
Abu Dhabi (UAE) – Bergér has won the season Challenger Cup for the past two years in a row, but he had wondered if he could stay in the top ranks in this year’s new raceplane, the Edge 540 V2. The German quickly erased any doubts with a masterful flight through the 25-meter-high Air Gates, stopping the clock at 57.073. Czepiela was more than a second behind with 58.533, and Coleman finished at 58.996, but the tension was not over yet. Bergér’s friend and closest rival Daniel Ryfa of Sweden had been on a hot streak, and by the third split the Scandinavian was more than a half second ahead – only to hit a pylon in the next-to-last gate for a three-second penalty that sealed Bergér’s victory.
“It’s amazing. I’m really happy that I won the race here. In the years before I was second or third, so it’s quite a big thing for me,” said Bergér, who admitted that he had been impressed with Ryfa’s pace. “My goal for the season is to fly consistent and to be on the podium as often as I can. Perhaps it will be possible to have another overall win of the Challenger Cup, but it will be quite tough.”
Introduced in 2014, the Challenger Class is the second competition category in the Red Bull Air Race and is designed to build on the existing expertise of talented pilots to develop the Air Racing skills necessary for potential advancement to the World Championship ranks.
Each Challenger Class pilot will fly a minimum of four races throughout the eight-stop season. Those racing at Abu Dhabi also included Daniel Genevey of Hungary and two pilots making their Red Bull Air Race debut, Dario Costa of Italy and Patrick Davidson of South Africa.
From the Corniche to the Croisette! The Challengers and the Master Class will get their next chance to earn points when the Red Bull Air Race makes its long-awaited French debut in Cannes on 21-22 April 2018.
Be there: Tickets for the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship are on sale now. For more information on tickets and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com.
Results Challenger Class, Abu Dhabi 2018: 1. Florian Bergér (GER) 57.073, 2. Luke Czepiela (POL) 58.533, 3. Kevin Coleman (USA) 58.996, 4. Dario Costa (ITA) 59.418, 5. Daniel Ryfa (SWE) 59.420, 6. Patrick Davidson (RSA) 1:00.544, 7. Daniel Genevey (HUN) 1:01.390,
Overall standings, Challenger Cup 2018: 1. Florian Bergér (GER) 10 points, 2. Luke Czepiela (POL) 8 pts, 3. Kevin Coleman (USA) 6 pts, 4. Dario Costa (ITA) 4 pts, 5. Daniel Ryfa (SWE) 2 pts, 6. Patrick Davidson (RSA), 7. Daniel Genevey (HUN)
Red Bull Air Race 2018 Calendar
2-3 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
21-22 April: Cannes, France
26-27 May: Europe, location TBA
23-24 June: Budapest, Hungary
4-5 August: Asia, location TBA
25-26 August: Kazan, Russia
6-7 October: Indianapolis, USA
November: Asia, location 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 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.