RACING STARTS AT 1200 LOCAL TIME WITH THE CHALLENGER CUP, SO THAT'S ABOUT 30 MINS FROM NOW...
The track here in Chiba is a fast one – easy on paper, but much tougher in reality... there are 2 vertical turning manoeuvres, one at each end. This is where essential time can be saved and how the pilots fly this will be the make or break element...
NEWS UPDATE: Daniel Ryfa of Sweden fastest in Challenger Cup training. #airrace is ON!
STARTING ORDER FOR THE CHALLENGER CUP:
AND THEY'RE OFF!
It's time for the Challengers to take to the skies. with Daniel Ryfa first into the track
Ryfa makes it through the track without a hitch! It's a great start to the Challenger Cup... he posts 57.176 clean!
Peter Podlunsek is next up and we hear the buzzer twice... that's two penalties for the Slovenian for incorrect level flying. The wind has swung 10kts from the south and it's a different feel out there today. He posts 1:01.708.
Francis Barros is straight into the track, no time to stop and think... the split times are red and he's losing time in the track. But with no penalties and clean sweep he moves into second place with 59.053
In yesterday's conditions we were looking at north to north-easterly winds around 5kts. The wind has swung around to the South and with 10kts to contend with it's going to be a challenge to readjust...
Berger, Kopfstein and Bolton preparing to fly.... Berger is next up - hailing from Germany, and born in 1989, he's the second-youngest pilot ever to fly in the Red Bull Air Race.
Berger coming into the track... wind 9.3kts and still coming in from the south. Berger posted in the 1:00 ballpark yesterday so it'll be a tough challenge to get anywhere near Ryfa's time today...
Florian Berger is through the track safely and cleanly and he's gained two seconds from his Training time... he ousts Barros from second place with 58.340
Petr Kopfstein now taking to the track. The super-competitive Czech pilot will be pushing for the win today
It's a slow start but he quickly regains ground and is into the green split times in the latter two thirds of the course... and he's through with no penalties! A clean pass and a solid performance earns him a sizeable margin as he takes first place with 56.584
Last but not least it's Cristian Bolton... he races through the Start Gate but already he's in the red and he's losing time... he passes through cleanly but with the sprint to the end he's still got so much time to make up... 197kts and counting and he posts a time of 57.865!
Petr Kopfstein's assured performance earns him a first place finish!
It's Kopfstein, Ryfa, Bolton for the top spots here in Chiba