18 Jun 2018

French drone ace Killian Rousseau, 13, triumphs at the 2018 WDR Paris World Cup

Congratulations to 13-year-old French drone racer Killian Rousseau, who kept his cool and showed maturity beyond his years to win last weekend’s 2018 WDR Paris World Cup.

The young pilot fought off stiff competition from the 48 other competitors who came to the small town of Brétigny-sur-Orge, south west of Paris from all over Europe and as far as Korea to take part in the event – the sixth in this year’s FAI Drone Racing World Cup.

“I am super happy to have won this well organised competition,” said Rousseau, who has only been racing drones for a year and a half and has been competing for less than a year.

The teenage drone ace showed his class in the qualification rounds that took place on Saturday and Sunday morning in sunny, but at times rather gusty conditions.

The local rules dictated that the qualification was decided by the quickest single lap from each competitor, allowing Rousseau to head into the fly-offs ahead of rival pilots Benjamin Lavayssiere of France and Korea’s Joonweon Choi. 

Choi crashed out during the quarter-finals, while Lavayssiere hit trouble in the first of the semi-finals, leaving the door open for fellow Frenchman Julien Girodana and the young Spanish pilot Vincent Mayan Cervera to move through to the final.

In the thrilling second semi-final, it was Russian pilot Platon Maskimov and Rousseau who went through, despite a valiant effort by third place pilot Frederic Dauch of France to come back after crashing twice.

The closely fought final then saw Rousseau claw his way from third place to first – a lead he held to finish ahead of Giordana and Cervera.

Other competitors enjoying the atmosphere in Brétigny-sur-Orge included Guillaume Bailleau, the youngest participant at just nine years of age, and Poland’s Lexie Janson – the only female competitor.

When asked for her thoughts on encouraging more women to take up competitive drone racing, she said: “It’s not about showing women can do it but that everyone can, it’s a sport for all sorts of people.”

As for Rousseau, his aim now is to be picked for the French team heading to the FAI World Drone Racing Championships in Shenzhen, China later this year.

“The French team for the world championship in Shenzhen hasn’t been decided yet and we hope this win will help earn him a place,” his father said.

Photo credit: FAI/Marcus King