Turkish mountain running legend Ahmet Arslan is the winner of no less than 13 Red Bull 400 races to date (out of 30 ever held), so it comes as no surprise to learn that he's the heavy favorite to claim victory at the first Red Bull 400 World Championship in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany on Saturday, July 15.
As we met him in his hotel in Titisee to get his thoughts on his successes and thoughts on the big race, it's not surprising that he had to look up his 13 wins on a computer to remember them all. He knew instantly the name of the only athlete to beat him in a Red Bull 400 Final though; Simon Alic in 2013 at Planica, Slovenia.
As well as his successes at Red Bull 400, Arslan is also a six-time mountain running European champion and a runner up at the World Championships in both 2008 and 2011.
A friend is the one to thank for his unparalleled Red Bull 400 career, after convincing him to enter the first ever Red Bull 400 race at the Kulm, Austria in 2011.
The ski jumping hill has since become one of his favourites, as he prefers natural grass jumping hills to those boasting artificial turf. He'll love the all-naturall Hochfirstschanze at Titisee-Neustadt then, which is another factor that could help him to fulfill his dream of being not only the first ever winner of a Red Bull 400 race, but also the series' first world champ.
Arslan sees a difficult road ahead of him to achive that goal however, as some strong opponents are out to steal this elusive title from under his nose, including Matjaz Miklosa, Simon Novak and Anton Palzer. This trio were the first names that came into Arslan's mind when asked about who his toughest competition will come from.
We'll find out if his predictions are correct when the Red Bull 400 World Championship races start at 13:00 with the men's qualifying heats.