Matt Hall to race in Russian debut 22-23 July

First time in Russia, fourth time in his Edge 540 V3, check out the candid chat Matt had with Red Bull Air Race about this weekend’s event!

Since joining the Red Bull Air Race in 2009, Australian pilot Matt Hall has competed all over the world – but never before in Russia. That will change this weekend when the first Russian race in the history of the sport takes off in Kazan, a sporting capital set 800 kilometres east of Moscow.

Welcome to Kazan, Matt. Have you been looking forward to this race?
I think this Kazan race will be a great one: it’s an all-new destination for the Air Race, plus the country has been hosting major sporting events over the past few years, and I think they will really love and support the Red Bull Air Race!

Closer to our hangar, this race is also another chance to test and learn with our new plane, and it is nice to have this race so close to Budapest so we can achieve strong continuum with this project.

Speaking of Budapest, which was just about three weeks ago, and your project of simultaneously refining your new raceplane and the teamwork in Matt Hall Racing, you said you intentionally flew aggressively in Hungary because this unusual season isn’t about earning the most points possible. What were the takeaways?

After so many years of fighting for strong finishing positions, and podiums, Budapest provided probably our biggest learning curve in being prepared to lose.

“Lose” isn’t a word typically associated with Matt Hall Racing. You were a strong fifth in Qualifying at Budapest, and on Race Day you flew your way into the Round of 8 before you had that DNF penalty for exceeding maximum G. It may not have been a win, but it was a solid performance, so what do you mean by “being prepared to lose”?

In previous years, if an opponent made a mistake in the track – which is what happened in the Round of 8 in Budapest – we would capitalise on it by backing off and getting an easy win. We cannot afford to do this at the moment. If we are not in the track with something changed, and trying to improve the method of my flying style in this aircraft every time I strap in, we are not sticking with our season goals.

As a team we have a clear objective for the season – turn our plane and personnel into a race-winning package. To do that we need to be testing new things, going out and making mistakes – all the while learning. We did that well in Budapest, and we came away much more knowledgeable than we were at the start of the week.

So do you think that Kazan will also offer a good opportunity to increase your knowledge?

Every race is a chance to learn. The Kazan track is over a river, for example, but it’s very different to Budapest, as it is more of a circular flowing track, rather than an up-and-down drag race. There will be a lot more turning and the aircraft will end up with less energy and less over G potential in Kazan.

Matt Hall’s Red Bull Air Race debut in Kazan will take off with Qualifying on Saturday, 22 July, followed by Race Day on Sunday, 23 July 2017.