Red Bull Air Race 2016: Daniel Ryfa wins Challenger Class in Abu Dhabi
The ninth season of Red Bull Air Race action at Abu Dhabi’s Corniche took off with a win for Challenger Class pilot Daniel Ryfa of Sweden. The most experienced contender in the six-man Abu Dhabi field, Ryfa clocked a sizzling time of 1:06.308.
But the surprise of the day came from Kevin Coleman, a 25-year-old American making his Red Bull Air Race debut, who seized second place less than seven-tenths of a second behind the Swede with 1:06.945. Florian Bergér of Germany took third place, and the Abu Dhabi field was rounded out by Ben Murphy of Great Britain, Luke Czepiela of Poland and Francis Barros of Brazil.
The Challenger Cup is an element of the Red Bull Air Race created in 2014 to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills and experience needed for potential advancement to the Master Class. So far, four previous Challenger Class pilots have advanced to the Master Class – the elite lineup that competes for the World Championship title.
Ryfa is one of the most consistent pilots in the Challenger Class field with a podium in 75 percent of his races across two previous seasons, and the result in Abu demonstrates his intentions for the year ahead.
“I’m really happy about this. This is my first win here in Abu Dhabi, and we’ll see if I can continue like this the entire season,” said the 36-year-old. “My goal is to win all the races, take the Challenger Cup Championship and go home with a trophy. That’s it!”
Overall Standings Challenger Cup
1. Daniel Ryfa (SWE) 10 pts., 2. Kevin Coleman (USA) 8 pts, 3. Florian Bergér (GER) 6 pts, 4. Ben Murphy (GBR) 4 pts, 5. Luke Czepiela (POL) 2 pts, 6. Francis Barros (BRA), 7. Cristian Bolton (CHI), 8. Mélanie Astles (FRA)