MinChan Kim leads China Drone Racing Open after first Elimination Round
The first Elimination round of the 2018 China Drone Racing Open finished with the race favourite from South Korea still out front.
Fourteen-year-old MinChan Kim, who also finished first in Qualifying, flew a smooth and clean round of three laps in 85 seconds to finish comfortably ahead of his nearest rival on the second day of competition, Saturday 12 May.
“I flew first,” he said afterwards, “and I flew slow, at 85 seconds. My fastest time is 76 seconds.” A lap time of 30 seconds is considered fast, and only three pilots scored an average time of less than 30 seconds a lap in Qualifying.
Tactics was behind MinChan’s slower time in the first Elimination round. “I changed my drone – I wanted to keep my main drone for later in the competition,” he explained
In the Elimination races the two fastest pilots of each four go through to the next round - meaning a total of 16 pilots are knocked out. One of those knocked out was visiting French pilot Thomas Grout.
Thomas, 16, was rueful in defeat. Third overall in the FAI Drone Racing World Cup Series last year he had come to China with his eyes firmly on preparing for the 1st FAI World Drone Racing Championships, to be held at the same venue in Shenzhen, China in November.
However, things didn’t go his way this time. “I am out. I was in the first race with MinChan Kim and Junwhi Rhee, another very good Korean pilot. He and I battled it out for second place but we both crashed. It meant the fourth pilot went through instead of either of us.”
He added: “It means I can now come in maximum 17th place.”
Overall, how had China been for him? “Good, but it’s a bit hot for me! But I’ll be back in November.”
Temperatures on the second day of competition in the Universiade Shenzhen stadium hovered at 30-degrees celsius for much of the afternoon, with humidity at a sweat-inducing 92%.
With the field now down to 16 pilots the competition enters its final stages on Sunday – with a round of 16, eight and then four to decide the overall champion at the 2018 China Drone Racing Open.