Hall has nothing to prove in Kazan

Australia’s Matt Hall will hold nothing back as he flies into the third last Red Bull Air Race World Championship event in Kazan, Russia this weekend, the three-time world championship runner-up saying that he has nothing more to prove on the world stage.

Two weeks ago, Red Bull announced that the series would be end at the conclusion of 2019, confirming just three more races for a sport that has captured the imagination of millions globally since its inception in 2003.

For Hall, competing in the visually sensational Red Bull Air Race since 2009 has netted a long list of achievements. History will show the Australian to be the only rookie pilot to have finished in the top three overall during a maiden campaign. Come the end of the air race in September, his resume will list multiple race wins and more than 25 podium appearances across eight seasons.

However, with the longevity of the series defined to three more outings, the former fighter pilot as vowed to leave nothing on the table in his pursuit of adding to his tally of six race wins and flying for the world title that has eluded him for the past seven seasons.

“Coming into this race I had to think a lot about what our strategy would be, whether or not I needed to validate my speed, consistency and competitiveness as a race pilot,” Hall said.

“At the end of the day, I don’t have a world title. But I have won races and I have enough podiums to my name to prove my ability. Over the years we have built strong teams that achieved top results. So, for these final three races, beginning here in Kazan, I have nothing to lose by going for victory without hesitation or worrying about championship points. We want to be winners again before the series winds up.”

Adamant to yet again stand atop the rostrum, Hall will need to overcome a hot and cold relationship with Kazan in regard to race results. In the past two visits he has finished sixth and seventh, unenviable results by anyone’s measure.

Despite this, the raw speed shown by the Aussie in 2018 will stand for something when practice begins on Friday, with this year’s race track largely the same as that used during the last visit to Kazan. The similarities in the track, paired with a recent spell of testing with his race plane, has allowed Hall to arrive in Russia confident in his ability and that of his all-Australian team.

“Last year we had an incredibly fast plane in Kazan,” Hall recalled.

“We set the lap record during the third practice session and then went on to be fast in the Round of 14. Unfortunately, I made an error in the Round of 8 and gave away a top result. I had the plane to contest the win in Kazan in 2018.

“This year’s track is very similar, the only changes being that there is a second high-G vertical turn manoeuvre which precedes the finishing gate. Even with the changes, I am comfortable that we can find the perfect race line very early on. Personally, I want to come away from our final visit to Russia with the result I feel we deserved in 2018, hopefully we depart happy with our efforts.”

For Hall to pull himself into strong championship contention, he will need to chase down leaders Yoshihide Muroya of Japan and Czech ace Martin Šonka – the world champions of the past two seasons.

The 2019 Red Bull Air Race World Championship resumes for its second of four rounds this Friday June 14 with the opening two practice sessions. Saturday June 16 will see qualifying take place, where the winner will receive a bonus championship point, before the main race takes place on Sunday June 16.

Both qualifying and race day action will be broadcast LIVE on www.redbullairrace.com/live.