Matt Hall clinches Red Bull Air Race title after thrilling final round in Japan
Australian pilot Matt Hall clinched the Red Bull Air Race title this weekend by just one point after a thrilling final round in Japan.
Home hero Yoshihide Muroya went into the weekend hoping to seal a second Air Race World Championship after winning the opening two rounds of the truncated 2019 season, but he lost out in his head-to-head to Great Britain’s Ben Murphy.
Championship leader Martin Sonka then fluffed his lines after he incurred a one-second penalty for pulling too much G in his face off against France’s Nicolas Ivanoff.
But the story wasn’t over for Muroya, who advanced to the final four as the fastest loser, along with Hall, Kirby Chambliss of the USA and Canada’s Pete McLeod.
By now, Hall knew he only needed to seal a podium finish to take the title, and with McLeod incurring multiple penalties, the Aussie cruised to third place behind Muroya and Chambliss to take the title in the last ever Air Race World Championship by a single point.
He said after the race: “I didn't even care where I came in the race – I just knew when we all made it through to the Final 4 that I had to make the podium, and then I heard about Pete’s pylon hit.
“The conditions were tricky, and I thought that I could hate myself for the rest of my life if I made a penalty, so I tried to play it safe without letting up too much. Now I need to go and absorb this, but mate, when I’m 90 I’m going to be telling everyone I’m the World Champion.”