Sep 11

RED BULL AIR RACE CHIBA: RACE DAY

Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) (C), Kirby Chambliss (USA) (L), Matt Hall (AUS) (R)

Predrag Vuckovic | Red Bull Content Pool

 
In the close to 12 World Championship seasons and 94 races, the Red Bull Air Race will not be continued past 2019, making the race in Chiba the last chance for the iconic trophy. Flying against qualifying winner Juan Velarde in the Round of 14, Kirby shaved off nearly one second from his best practice result with a clean run of 57.306s. Velarde’s clock stopped 0.874s behind him and moved the Kirby into the next round.

The Round of 8 became a battle of experience between Kirby and Nicolas Ivanoff of France. Kirby prevailed with his time 0.370s faster than Ivanoff, moving him into his first final-four of the 2019 season, along with Pete McLeod and championship contenders Yoshihide Muroya and Matt Hall.

In the climactic round, McLeod faltered with penalties. Muroya played it safe for a conservative 58.630s and Kirby, who had been dealing with an underperforming engine, was 0.971s behind him. Hall needed only to finish third to take the title, and with the world on his shoulders, the Australian coolly did just what he needed to do, flying to 1:00.052 for his long-awaited honor. Final race results: Muroya first, Chambliss second, Hall third.

“After qualifying last, I think other teams counted us out of a podium, but I’ve done this before and we were not counting ourselves out,” shares Kirby. “We continued to push until the very end, and it’s an unexplainable feeling to be returning from the series finale with a trophy.  The fans here are amazing. You go down to the hotel lobby and people are giving you gifts. You can just feel the enthusiasm. The only thing that could have made this day better is a first-place trophy.”

 

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