Quotes of the weekend: Red Bull Air Race Kazan

Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service Team

Russia, 25-26 August 2018

Seven-time Women’s World Aerobatic Champion, Russia’s “Queen of the Sky”
“Many of my friends fly in this competition. The Red Bull Air Race and the aerobatics competitions that I compete in are quite different – but these raceplanes are upgraded, they’re beautiful, and the pilots are masters. This race is made for people to watch, and they’re glad to see it here. I think this event is quite popular and well known, which helps to build not only Air Racing but aerobatics in Russia.”

BMX competitor and Kazan native [after taking a G flight]
“It was crazy – to see your home town upside down from this altitude, and the feeling to do flips and spins… Wow! As a spectator, I saw the Red Bull Air Race here in Kazan last year, too. These planes flying around my home city, it’s amazing, really.”

Race Director of the Red Bull Air Race
“Kazan is one of our favorite races of the entire year – it’s a beautiful backdrop, just gorgeous. The country of Russia has embraced not only us as Red Bull Air Race, but the entire aviation family to come and enjoy all that Kazan and Russia have. We feel very fortunate, and the organization and the pilots would love to come back here.”

Master Class pilot, first place in Kazan 2018, currently tied for second in the World Championship points
“This is definitely one of those tracks where you don’t have even a second to rest, and there are many different lines to fly through. This was one of the most difficult races we have ever experienced because we were struggling with everything here. Nothing was working for us, so it was a great team effort to put it together today. All the work that went behind this result makes it even better, and the victory belongs to the team, and to Kazan for being such a beautiful venue. For me personally, I’m not thinking about the season itself. Now we can start to think about the next race in Wiener Neustadt, and that’s another task in front of us. We have to be focused.”

Master Class pilot, second place in Kazan 2018, currently first place in the World Championship points
“It feels amazing to be back in Kazan. Five 2018 races, four podiums, and we just have lots and lots of confidence. It feels really good, and I like how we’re doing and how the team is progressing. I feel my flying today is the best I’ve done all year. I went out there to win this race, not just get more points. Although Martin flew that little bit faster, it was a great result for all of us. This is not a time to play defense – we’re going to try to keep our foot on the gas, to be consistent, and when the opportunity arises to try to win a race, to go and do that.”

Master Class pilot, third place in Kazan 2018, two-time titleholder
“I consistently got faster throughout the race and the luck has just always gone the other way for us this year, but today I got the luck. I think we were just 0.1s away from first, so it was a super-tight race and everyone enjoyed it – it was a knuckle biter. We haven’t given up, we’re just going to go out there and try to win every race. And we’ll collect the points and see what happens.”

Master Class pilot
“I’m very happy with the result – it’s been a very good weekend and we have been very competitive from the beginning. That has given us a big push a little further up in the championship. We will gain some good positions and a lot of confidence; this is how we want to work. We improved the raceplane just a little bit, which helps, and I think my mental preparation for this race has been good. I’ve been very focused, very calm, and we’ve been doing good analysis. We’ve been very close to the podium, and we’re there and it’s what we have to aim for.”

Master Class pilot
“There’s still a lot to learn, but the team is in a really good place. We’re happy with the airplane now, happy with the flying and the way we’re putting the preparation together. It went pretty much as per our gameplan. The only icing on the cake could have been a Final 4 round, but that will come soon, we hope. The plan for this race was to really go hard in Qualifying, and if we could get a good position in Qualifying, it would set us up for the race. And that’s exactly what we did – we got a fourth in Quali and then a fifth [in the race] overall. It’s our first season, and we’re learning so much about the airplane, how to set it up, how to fly it. So we’ll go away from herewith lots of valuable lessons learned, ready to take to Austria.”

Master Class pilot
“It was a fantastic venue here in Kazan, it’s great. I had a very good memory of last year, and here once again we are very happy with our race. Our timings were very consistent, and that’s the most important. We’re on the way of being fast and competitive. Now we have to keep up this consistency, and we really have to work on the engine because we suspect the raceplane is not giving everything it should. If I can maintain this state of mind until the end of the season, that will be fantastic. I’m having fun, I’m improving, and I’m convinced that it’s while having fun that we improve the most. So let’s keep it this way and work hard to have fun, and I’m sure very good surprises will arise.”

Master Class pilot, currently tied for second in the World Championship points
“The flight was on rails. I was hitting all my lines; I knew I nailed the VTM. So I was on the back straight, basically, and I relaxed thinking I had it in the bag. I over-pulled the turn and I saw the gate, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to hit that.’ There was nothing I could do about it at that point. I saw it coming and just had to go through it. There are still races to come. I’m happy with how I’m flying, happy with how the team’s got the plane going. The plane’s rocking. So it’s a hiccup, and this is our bad race for the year.”

Master Class pilot, defending Red Bull Air Race World Champion
“The last four races in the season bring more pressure, more tension – so it depends on the pilot, whether he can fly well. I think I perform better with higher pressure. Today the flight was very solid and we set the track record. We don’t know why we exceeded the RPM, it’s never happened before. It happened after the VTM [Vertical Turning Maneuver], but we don’t know why. There are still three races to go, and we’ll never give up. We’ll focus on each session at a time and see how we go.”

Master Class pilot
“This track doesn’t really fit our style or the aerodynamics of our raceplane, so I was struggling from the very beginning. But we played with the cards we had and I gave it my all. The faster guy won and we have to learn from it – maybe get bigger winglets. We’re learning with every race.”

Master Class pilot
“My result was not good, so I have to think about the next one to learn about the mistake I did today – a huge one. My team said I pulled too late and I didn’t see it, so I have to analyze this with the video. We are going to try to improve the scores, and I have to stay optimistic and positive and think about the future. My goal is to fly well and have a good result for the next three races.”

Master Class pilot
“I’m disappointed with myself, it’s a mistake I shouldn’t make. I came out of the chicane and I didn’t really fully commit out of the turn. I had some drift going and I had to correct to get out of the way of the pylon. I shouldn’t have made that mistake; the conditions were perfect. It’s limited on what could happen for the rest of the season now, so we’re focused on preparing the raceplane for next season.”

Master Class pilot
“Here in Kazan we had a very, very nice race week. The team was strong and we worked on the raceplane very efficiently, so we knew that we were ready. Yesterday Quali didn’t really go as expected because we had this pylon hit on the first run and I had to secure a safe time on the second run, ending up fifth. In the top half of the table, of course, but unfortunately against Matt Hall today. But that’s part of the competition. We know that it’s tough. So that was the sport today, I did not make it through the Round of 14, but it was the worst race of the season and I have to have one. We have achieved the Final 4 and a podium, and we had been in the Round of 8 since Porto last year, so the tactic works well. We know what we have to do; it’s just unfortunate that sometimes the luck is not with us, but we will continue to work according to our plans. We will be back in Wiener Neustadt – stronger, better and faster, I hope!”

Master Class pilot, 2016 World Champion, DHL Fastest Lap winner in Kazan
“It’s a really cool race here in Russia, and the people are really friendly. The new track was completely different than last year. It shifted to the other side of the water, it’s more fluid. The difficulty is you have to fly really, really smooth so you don’t get penalties, and every stick movement costs energy. It [a pylon hit] is a pity. It’s racing and that can happen. We tried the fastest lines and I had a really good feeling up until that point. It was just a few centimeters, but it’s not reversible. I know the speed is there, and I’m fit again – that’s the most important thing. So I’ll take the self-confidence and the fun of being back in the racetrack with me to Wiener Neustadt.”

Master Class pilot
“The race was great. It’s a great venue. The connection with the fans has been good all week. It was bad I lost the heat in the Round of 14. I don’t like to lose, and I got a penalty. I think I need a little bit of luck and we’ll see what happens in the next race.”

Challenger Class pilot, 1st place in the Challenger Class race at Kazan 2018
“It’s awesome to win here in Kazan, I’m super excited. It’s only my second race of the year – a long time since I’ve been in a racetrack – and it took a lot of work to get up to speed, so it’s a big relief. Now we’re moving toward the final, and that’s the goal. I’ll be at the next race in Austria, and hopefully we’ll get some points and I’ll make a run at this thing.”

Challenger Class pilot, 2nd place in the Challenger Class race at Kazan 2018 (career-first race podium)
“This is all so new to me. I’m actually very satisfied. To show that I can do it is more important. I was cautious, maybe too cautious, because nobody else had got any penalties. And I would rather have got through this race with no penalties than set a spectacular net time, but ruin it with a silly penalty. I think you grow at every race, so I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m glad Kevin won, but I’ll take second place with the biggest smile in the world on my face.”

Challenger Class Pilot, 3rd place in the Challenger Class race at Kazan 2018
“There was a lot more I could have done, but I’m happy that there were no penalties – a clean, solid run is important. I know there is more in the bank, and I hope to build on that in Austria and Indianapolis. Kazan is beautiful, it’s just a joy to be flying here. The water was calm and the wind was negligible, so just a beautiful, beautiful venue.”

Challenger Class pilot
“It’s not a first place, but in my heart it feels like a first because I think my flying was beautiful and [live broadcast reporter] Jonathan Legard told me that [three-time World Champion] Paul Bonhomme said it was a beautiful flight. Coming from a champion like him it’s a big compliment for me. I gave my best, but I don’t think I set my engine properly. That’s something to learn for next time.”

Challenger Class pilot
“The flight was better today, but I got a penalty so I have to live with that. It’s all learning and it wasn’t my week. I said I don’t really like this kind of track, but I’ll take the best out of it and carry on­ – this is part of the sport. I need to be a better pilot for next time.”

Challenger Class pilot, currently tied in the points at the top of the Challenger Class standings
“My time wasn’t too bad, but I’ve not been very lucky with the aircraft here. There will be a lot of pressure for the next stop in Austria – this will be my fourth and final race [before participants in the season finale are determined], so I need to make this one work. I think I need to be more relaxed, that will be one of the lessons.”

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
17-18 November: Fort Worth, 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 km/h 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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