Matt Hall has signalled his intention to challenge for the race win on the opening day of training for the third round of the Red Bull Air Race above the Tokyo Bay in Chiba, Japan.

Hall clocked the fastest time of the day – 1min 04.072seconds – with his first run in the week’s first training session before the second quickest time of 1:04.458, one run later. He ended the day with the two fastest efforts and was the only pilot to slip under 1:05 seconds all day.

Later he was third quickest behind local hero Yoshi Muroya and standings leader Matthias Dolderer in the second training session before finishing fourth, despite a one second penalty for exceeding the start speed limit, in his final training opportunity of the day.

The former RAAF fighter pilot and the other 13 elite pilots will reach speeds of almost 370 km/h as they navigate through the 25 metre pylons, sometimes under the strain of 12 G’s.


While he was getting carried away with the training performances, Hall was happy with the day’s track time.

“We had some goals that I wanted to achieve today and I think we did well with those,” Hall said.

“It’s always nice to be up near the front of the pack in training, it just gives that little bit of confidence that you are on the right track.

“I think we’ve got a little bit more up our sleeve to for tomorrow and hopefully then again on Sunday.”

Hall is in the unfamiliar position of eighth in the season’s standings after an uncharacteristic error forced him to drop to ninth in round one before he finished fifth in round two. He is aiming to climb up the leader board at the same venue he finished second at in 2015.

The elite field will fly one more official training session and then qualifying on Saturday, with the race proper set down for Sunday. All of Sunday’s action can be seen live viawww.redbullairrace.com/live.