07 Aug 2018

FAI Drone Racing World Cup 2018: junior pilots lead the field

Junior drone racers are dominating this year’s FAI Drone Racing World Cup so far, with young pilots claiming the first three spots on the leader board after the first 11 events.

Korean JoonWeon Choi, 16, is in pole position, followed by 17-year-old Thomas Grout of France in second place, and Poland’s Jan Wielgosz, 18, in third.

Their journeys to the top of the field have been marked by success at different contests. Choi’s best performance was in Bali in April, where he came first to win a total of 48 points.

Grout’s best event was in Cabourg, France, where he claimed 37 points with a fourth place finish, and Wielgosz’s best moment so far came in Trencin, Slovakia, where he came second and pocketed 44 points.

However, they are not the only young pilots showing great promise in this year’s competition, which has already attracted 485 competitors hailing from 37 different countries.

The majority of the top 10 pilots at this stage are juniors, with Korea’s JunWhi Rhee in fifth, Russia’s Platon Maximov in seventh and France’s Killian Rousseau in 10th.

Bruno Delor of the FAI Aeromodelling Commission said: “At the moment, the three first placed competitors are all juniors from different countries and there are six juniors in the top 10.”

The first adult pilot in the rankings is Portugal’s Rui Antunes, currently in fourth position, while the first female is also a junior: Wanraya Wannapong of Thailand in 15th place.

But August is a busy month for the World Cup, with three events being held concurrently in Riga in Latvia, Seville in Spain, and Bitterfeld in Germany between August 10 and 12.

The 2018 EPFL Drone Racing Cup also starts on August 31 as part of the FAI International Drone Conference & Expo in Lausanne, Switzerland.

And with the results of 12 competitions still to be counted, there is everything to play for – so best of luck to all the pilots!

Visit the FAI Drone Racing World Cup page for the full list of results. 

Photo credit: FAI/Marcus King