Matt Hall has marked his return to the skies above the famous Ascot Racecourse just outside of London with a pair of solid performance on the first day of training flights for the fifth round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championships.

During the first of two practice sessions Hall recorded the second quickest run from the 14 elite pilots, trailing only runaway world championship standings leader Matthias Dolderer of Germany, before turning in the fifth fastest flight of the second training session.

The Australian placed second at Ascot in 2015 before going on to win two of the season’s final three races and finish the year second in the world championship standings.

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This year, after a slow start due to injury and an uncharacteristic mistake in the season opener, the former RAAF fighter pilot has moved up to seventh in the rankings following his third placed effort in round four in Budapest last month.

“It was great fun to be back out there today at this famous track,” Hall said.

“I was pretty comfortable and working on achieving some goals of flying smoothly and without penalty.

“There’s still plenty of work to do to get the line we want to fly nailed down but we are on track and those runs today were steady. Solid without being spectacular.”

The aerial action at the famous English racecourse continues on Saturday with another training session before official qualifying. The race proper is on Sunday.

Australian audiences can watch both Saturday and Sunday’s qualifying and race day online via www.redbullairrace.com/live OR Sunday’s race day on Fox Sports 3 (midnight – 1am for Round of 14) and Fox Sports 5 (2-3am for round of 8 and final 4).

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