RBAR CHIBA: WEATHER CAUSES CANCELLATION OF QUALIFY, HALL EARNS LE VOT CLASH
Due to the high seas and rough conditions in Chiba, Japan on Saturday, the Race Committee of the Red Bull Air Race was forced to cancel the Qualifying session ahead of tomorrow’s main event.
Strong winds ripping across Tokyo Bay meant the water racetrack was no longer safely operational, with up to 2.5m waves forcing the immediate end to all rescue and track operations.
With no qualifying session, matchups for the round of 14 on Sunday reverted to the current world championship standings pitching Australian Matt Hall into a man-on-man battle with France’s world aerobatic champion Francois Le Vot.
The pair have have already met previously in the round of 14 this season, Hall coming away victorious by almost two seconds in round two in Spielberg, Austria in April.
The event’s Race Director Jim DiMatteo said there was little option for organisers to conduct the qualifying session in the prevailing conditions.
“The current water conditions give us no choice but to cancel the Qualifying flying sessions for Saturday,” DiMatteo said.
“Safety on the racetrack and for the teams is our utmost priority, along with the operations of our water racetrack.”
Hall, who clocked the fastest two times of the day in Friday’s official training sessions, said the focus immediately turned to Sunday’s clash with Le Vot.
“It’s a shame we didn’t get to race today but there really was no chance with the way the wind was,” Hall said.
“We have to put that behind us and get our minds set on Sunday and the first priority is flying a good, fast line and putting down a time that is good enough to get me through to the round of eight.
“From there we can refocus on the next goal. The plane is fast, I am feeling good and we can’t wait to get out there.”
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.