Courtesy of Red Bull Newsroom
Challenger Class Qualifying for the Red Bull Air Race in Budapest this weekend was full of surprises, as Daniel Genevey, who flies under the Hungarian flag, grabbed pole position – in only his second race – and another newcomer, Kenny Chiang of China, logged the next-best time.
The Challenger Class pilots as well as 30,000 spectators on the banks of the Danube made the most of perfect summer weather on Saturday. In his first season of Air Racing, Genevey delivered a clean and careful flight for a time of 1:12.818, while the two seconds of penalty that Chiang incurred for an incorrect level left him just 0.199 behind at 1:13.017. Luke Czepiela of Poland, the only pilot besides Genevey to fly cleanly, had the third-best time with 1:13.406.
Returning to the hangars, Chiang said, “I sometimes have to pinch myself because it’s so incredible that we’re flying at such a prominent, historical place, and that we’re flying by Parliament right in the city center. To be able to do this is incredible and I feel really privileged.”
The Challenger Class was introduced to the Red Bull Air Race in 2014 to help outstanding pilots build the skills necessary to potentially compete for the World Championship, and Genevey was pleased but admittedly surprised to have clocked such a strongly competitive time so soon.
“I didn’t know the flight was that good. My Free Practice was not good at all, so I tried to find out what to improve. Of course the coaches helped me, and I tried to watch the others to learn what to do. This is only my second race, so I’m not aiming to win, I just want to fly better and better each time,” said the pilot, who finished fourth at his debut race in San Diego, USA. “It’s really wonderful to fly here in Budapest with my family and friends watching, and over the Danube today it was really beautiful – the weather and conditions were perfect. I’m happy.”
Rounding out the Challenger Class field in Budapest are 2016 Challenger Cup winner Florian Bergér of Germany and defending Budapest winner Daniel Ryfa of Sweden, as well as newcomer Baptiste Vignes of France.
Don’t miss the action in beautiful Budapest. Tickets for the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship – including Race Day over the Danube on 2 July – are on sale now. For information and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com
Results Challenger Class Qualifying, Budapest 2017: 1. Daniel Genevey (HUN) 1:12.818, 2. Kenny Chiang (CHN) 1:13.017, 3. Luke Czepiela (POL) 1:13.406, 4. Florian Bergér (GER) 1:13.649, 5. Baptiste Vignes (FRA) 1:15.674, 6. Daniel Ryfa (SWE) 1:17.982