RBAR Lausitz: Hall continues sizzling run of form
Australian Matt Hall has continued his rich vein of form by posting a series of quick laps in the opening day’s track training for the sixth round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championships at the Lausitzring in Germany.
After a slow start to the year that he began as the pre-season favourite, Hall has now strung together two solid races in row, finishing third in round four in Budapest before winning round five at Royal Ascot in the UK last month.
The former RAAF fighter pilot is sitting in third place in the overall world championship standings, 19.5 adrift of German Matthias Dolderer but just 1.25 behind Austria’s former world champion Hannes Arch. A race win is worth 15 points, a runner up finish 12.
In the first of two training sessions on Friday, Hall laid down a stunning time of 53.620, almost three quarters of a second ahead of Dolderer (54.321) and 1.72 seconds quicker than Czech pilot Martin Sonka (55.340).
Sonka turned the tables on Hall in the second practice session with a sizzling 53.599 but 44-year-old Hall was still second fastest of the elite 14-pilot field with a 54.360.
In 2010, the last time the Red Bull Air Race was contested overhead the German motorsport stadium, that sits between Berlin and Dresden in eastern Germany, Hall finished third behind Arch and now retired Brit Paul Bonhomme, the sport’s winningest pilot.
Now the Novocastrian is aiming to go two spots better than that event six years ago and score the first back-to-back victories of his career.
“I’m feeling quietly confident,” Hall said.
“There’s no pressure on me, all the pressure, I believe, is on the guys in front of me and immediately behind me.
“I really like this track, it suits my flying style I think and I am really enjoying getting out and flying fast.”
The pilots will have one last training session on Saturday morning before the qualifying session on Saturday afternoon that will decide the all-important matchups for Sunday’s elimination round of 14.
All of Saturday’s qualifying action can be viewed online via www.redbullairrace.com/live from midnight with Sunday’s racing online from 10pm (Round of 14) and midnight (Round of 8 and Final 4).