Red Bull Air Race 2016: Matt Hall wins in Ascot
Australia’s Matt Hall won the Ascot leg of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship on Sunday, 14 August 2016. He beat overall race leader Matthias Dolderer (GER) by a whisker to win the day. Hannes Arch (AUT) was third.
“I feel brilliant,” Hall said after his win, “I wasn’t sure how I was going to be received as the Aussie winning on British soil, but the standing ovation from tens of thousands of people as I got out of the raceplane – these are life memories.”
Ascot was the fifth stop on the eight-venue international Red Bull Air Race series, and it provided spectacular racing in front of a crowd of thousands at the famous racecourse.
Dolderer went into the race as one of the favourites as he is leading the overall series by a big margin.
However, when racing started in near perfect conditions on Sunday afternoon Hall and the others pushed themselves and their planes to the limit in an attempt to halt Dolderer’s seemingly unstoppable progress.
As the day’s racing progressed into the final four, Hall seized the win with a time of 1:03.426, while Dolderer was second with 1:04.887. It was enough to put him on the top step of the podium.
During the race the crowd were on their feet as pilot after pilot pushed hard – including the UK’s own Nigel Lamb in his final home race.
During the heats Dolderer set a stunning new track record of 1:03.266 in the Round of 8, but he flew more conservatively as the last to go in the Final 4, after Arch and the United States’ Michael Goulian had both earned (Did Not Finish) penalties as they pushed too hard.
In the final critical round Hall was first to fly and delivered a flawless round.
As a result, Hall – who finished second overall last season – keeps his World Championship podium hopes alive. He leapt four places in the overall leaderboard, going from seventh to third.
However, Dolderer’s second place still allowed him to extend his overall lead. His points tally now stands at 53.25, some 18.25 points ahead of second place Hannes Arch. Arch was Red Bull Air Race World Champion in 2008.
With Ascot in the bag, Hall looked ahead to the next three races: “We’re in a hard position. I can get enough points to beat Matthias but it depends on what he does. If win the next three races, there’s another 45 points we put on and we’ll see what happens.”
Results Master Class Ascot
1. Matt Hall (AUS)
2. Matthias Dolderer (GER)
3. Hannes Arch (AUT)
4. Michael Goulian (USA)
5. Martin Sonka (CZE)
6. Nigel Lamb (GBR)
7. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA)
8. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN)
World Championship Standings after Ascot
1. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 53.25 pts
2. Hannes Arch (AUT) 35 pts
3. Matt Hall (AUS) 33.75 pts
4. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 27.25 pts
5. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 26.00 pts
6. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 25.50 pts
7. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 24.75 pts
8. Martin Šonka (CZE) 20.00 pts
Full results at www.redbullairrace.com