Hall hoping to spoil the championship battle at Red Bull Air Race Indianapolis
For the first time in two seasons, Aussie pilot Matt Hall will not be fighting for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship title. Surprisingly it doesn’t bother the Newcastle local one bit, as the series enters its final round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, USA.
Season 2017 has seen Hall approach the series differently to previous years. Rather than flying for victory every race, he dedicated half the season to testing a new aircraft and building a new team. The second half of the year has been spent fine tuning those elements into a race winning package.
All that development brings the Aussie to Indianapolis. He arrives as one of the in-form pilots following podiums at the last two events in Porto, Portugal and Lausitz, Germany. Unlike Czech championship leader Martin Šonka, second placed Yoshi Muroya of Japan, third placed Canadian Pete McLeod and veteran Kirby Chambliss of the USA, Hall has nothing to lose.
No championship, no worries.
Sitting fifth and out of contention, Hall is ready to display the speed he knows he can achieve following a season of rigorous testing. He also has no qualms playing havoc with the four pilots who are all so desperate to lift the championship trophy come Sunday afternoon.
“We’re racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second year in a row, and it is amazing. Everyone knows this place, it is truly something else,” Hall grinned.
“As the last race of the season, we want to finish on a high, we will push hard for a race win. If that means it upsets the apple cart for the guys in contention for the season podium, then so be it.
“Our team has been working a lot on the aircraft, and our processes, and we want it all to come together. For us, this is about getting the ball rolling for 2018, we want to take the momentum from this round into next season.”
There’s no hiding the eagerness in Hall’s voice as he speaks of 2018. The former fighter pilot freely admits that he has been looking forward to the end of this season, purely because from day one he could see what was in the pipeline.
“It probably sounds funny for me to say that I have been looking forward to the end of this season since round one, but I have,” he continued.
“The only reason for that is that I knew everything would start coming together like it has with our last two podiums. When we putted around to tenth place in a rental plane in Abu Dhabi in round one, it was the knowledge of what was to come that spurred me on.
“The additional thing we have right now is an awesome team. Between the four of us, there is 100 per cent trust in each other and each other’s abilities. That bodes well for strong results.”
The eighth and final stop of the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship takes place at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. Qualifying will commence on Saturday October 14 at 4pm local time, 7am AEDT on Sunday October 15.
Sunday’s main event will kick off with the race-opening Round of 14, which begins at 1pm local time, 4am AEDT on Monday October 16.