Australian pilot Matt Hall will enter this week’s fifth round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championships above Ascot Racecourse aiming to do one thing: focus on nothing more than his next flight.

The former RAAF fighter pilot, who was second both at Ascot and in the overall World Championships standings in 2015, has had a slower than expected start to this year and sits in seventh place at the season’s halfway mark.

A third place finish in the series’ last round in Budapest last month – his first podium of 2016 – has buoyed Hall ahead of a return to the famous horse racing track just outside of London.

But the 44-year-old refuses to look at the overall championship race, instead focussing on each flight, one step at a time.

“It’s great to be back here in Ascot because it really is a special race on our calendar,” Hall said.

“The atmosphere is electric with the crowd so close to our hangars and the big grandstand but it’s important not to get carried away with all of that and any of the hype around the championship standings.

“Last year my team and I became very good at focusing on the now and remaining in the moment. We looked no further than the next flight or even the next gate within that flight and it seemed to work.


“We were happy with our result in Budapest but we’ve also had a major mid-season review and hopefully ironed out some kinks. We know what we need to do to be at our best here and for the rest of the year.

“We will obviously look at our position in the standings at the end of each round but whilst we are at a race, it will simply be concentrating on the next flight and being consistent in doing that.”

German Matthias Dolderer (41.25 points) is the runaway leader in the standings after winning two of the opening four rounds of the season but Hall, on 18.75, in seventh, is still within striking distance of second ranked Austrian Hannes Arch (26) and American Kirby Chambliss (25.25).

Last season Hall was able to record a second-first-second-first finish to the season so a return to similar form would see the Newcastle local challenging for a maiden world title.

The aerial action at the famous English racecourse begins on Friday with training flights, before more training and qualifying on Saturday and the race proper on Sunday.

Australian audiences can watch both Saturday and Sunday’s qualifying and race day online via www.redbullairrace.com/live.

The Ascot event will be followed by the final three rounds of the season in Lausitzring (Germany), Indianapolis and Las Vegas.