Red Bull Air Race pilots tune up for Russia on 15-16 June
- Since the first race of 2019 in Abu Dhabi, the race teams have been hard at work preparing for the clash in Kazan. Many have modified their raceplanes, and their tacticians have been carefully studying the track, where a blustery 2017 race saw more than 60 pylon hits and last year just 0.181s separated the top three. Meanwhile, the pilots have been pulling G to stay fit and practicing on their custom simulators.
- The Red Bull Air Race is the official World Championship accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Flying just metres above the Kazanka River, the 14 Master Class pilots will reach speeds up to 370 km/h and endure forces up to 12G in single-seat raceplanes, with the Kazan Kremlin as a backdrop. Each will fly against the clock while navigating a technical racetrack of air-filled pylons, which, in a safety feature, burst spectacularly if grazed by a wing. A feeder category, the Challenger Class, also competes at the race stops around the globe. Altogether across the Master Class and the Challenger Class, the 26 pilots represent 17 countries and six continents.
- Pilots to watch in Kazan include 2017 World Champion Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) and defending titleholder Martin Šonka (CZE). Their rivalry is long and deep, and at the season opener in Abu Dhabi, Muroya edged Šonka for the win by just 0.003s. But Šonka brings the confidence of earning the race victory in Kazan last year. The USA’s Kirby Chambliss won in Kazan in 2017 and was third in 2018. Other previous podium finishers in the Tatarstan capital are Michael Goulian (USA) and Pete McLeod (CAN).
- Master Class Qualifying will take off on Saturday, 15 June 2019. Race Day is Sunday, 16 June 2019, with two fierce initial rounds narrowing the field to the climactic Final 4.
- Also part of history’s third Russian stop will be two Challenger Class races, with Challenger Cup 1 on Saturday and Challenger Cup 2 on Sunday. In all, eight pilots will fly in the feeder category across the weekend: Florian Bergér (GER), Kenny Chiang (HKG), Kevin Coleman (USA), Patrick Davidson (RSA), Sammy Mason (USA), Daniel Ryfa (SWE), Patrick Strasser (AUT) and Baptiste Vignes (FRA).
Raceplanes dance over Kazan’s cultural landmarks ahead of Air Racing this weekend
With only days to go before the third consecutive stop of the Red Bull Air Race in Kazan, Russia this weekend, two pilots from the World Championship ranks took the opportunity to view the Tatarstan capital from their raceplanes.
Kazan, Russia – Nicolas Ivanoff of France, who is proud of having Russian heritage on his grandfather’s side, and Spain’s Juan Velarde flew over two of Kazan’s famous domed structures, the Kremlin, a World Heritage site, and the Ministry of Agriculture, with its 20-metre statue of a majestic tree.
Meanwhile, another French pilot, Mika Brageot, nimbly danced his raceplane through a double gate as Tatar folk dancers expertly executed their own choreography, traditional to the Republic of Tartastan, just below.
The Red Bull Air Race takes off over the Kazanka River this Saturday and Sunday, 15-16 June. For tickets and more information: www.redbullairrace.com
ABOUT RED BULL AIR RACE
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is an aerial motorsport series that demands a combination of speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, high performance raceplanes, pilots compete in iconic locations over water and land. The high speed, low altitude and extreme manoeuvrability required make it accessible only to the world's most exceptional pilots.
Flying just metres from the ground, 14 Master Class pilots race against the clock whilst reaching speeds of up to 370 km/h, requiring a combination of precision and skill unmatched in the world of aviation. Pilots must be in peak physical condition as they endure forces up to 12G while navigating the technical racetracks made up of air-filled pylons.
The Air Race was developed in 2003 and is accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), with more than 90 races completed across five continents. As the most advanced aerial challenge in existence, competing in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship is the highest accolade for elite pilots. A Challenger Cup feeder series was introduced in 2014.