Matthias Dolderer mastered the shifting winds, rain and late-season snow of the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, to claim maximum points in round two of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2016.
Dolderer saved his best flying of the weekend until the Final Four round, putting in a blistering second lap to overtake the time of home favourite Hannes Arch with just two gates remaining.
Absolutely fantastic, a dream came true finally! Thanks to the team, finally it worked out... I'm just speechless.Matthias Dolderer
With Qualifying winner Juan Velarde out of the running in the Round of 14, and a shock exit in the Round of 8 from Matt Hall, it was up to Dolderer and Arch, alongside Nigel Lamb and Pete McLeod, to decide the Spielberg podium. The times were fast, and four error-free flights from the pilots made for a nail-biting final in the second round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
McLeod laid down an early marker in the Final Four with a time of 57.598s, but Arch was able to put the memory of a disastrous 2015 home race appearance behind him to go faster than his Canadian rival. Austria’s Arch now led the contest with his 57.336s, topping the timesheets.
Next into the air was Dolderer, who had been showing great form on the Austrian racetrack throughout the weekend. With full-throttle speed and an almost faultless performance, he showed no mercy to the local fans as he nudged Arch off top spot with an incredible time of 56.996s.
Now it was only Great Britain’s Lamb who could prevent Dolderer from claiming a first ever Red Bull Air Race win. The 2014 World Champion went quickest through the first split but couldn’t maintain the impressive pace, eventually setting a time of 57.349s which placed him third overall.
Florian Bergér ensures a double celebration for German pilots with Challenger Cup win
With Challenger Cup Qualifying cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, the pilots headed into the final proceedings with just one Free Practice session under their belts. The fastest time in Free Practice had been set by Sweden’s Daniel Ryfa, but when he hit the Start Gate at the beginning of his final run to incur a three-second penalty, the contest was thrown wide open.
Taking full advantage of Ryfa’s slip-up was the USA’s Kevin Coleman, who wasted no time in taking top spot when he followed last month’s Abu Dhabi Air Race champion onto the course. The only pilot standing between Coleman and a win in Austria was Germany’s Florian Bergér. As the split times progressed during Berger’s flight each one was showing in favour of Coleman, until the very last section of the track, when the German pilot found something extra to bring his plane home quicker than all his rivals.
It's great to fly in the mountains and to have the possibility to compete at a motorsport track like this.Florian Bergér
Master Class results
Matthias Dolderer (Germany) 0m 56.996s
Hannes Arch (Austria) 0m 57.336s
Nigel Lamb (UK) 0m 57.349s
Pete McLeod (Canada) 0m 57.598s
Challenger Class results
Florian Bergér (Germany) 1m 06.350s
Kevin Coleman (USA) 1m 07.143s
Daniel Ryfa (Sweden) 1m 08.216s
Cristian Bolton (Chile) 1m 09.161s