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Red Bull Air Race reveal 2019 calendar, Hall to hunt elusive world title

Australia’s preeminent pilot Matt Hall will chase his first Red Bull Air Race World Championship trophy across eight stunning locations in 2019, and he will do so with a team hungry to go one step better than the runner up position earned last season.

The calendar for this year was revealed by Red Bull Air Race today, with the series to kick off on February 8-9 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the city that has become the traditional host of the first race.

From there it will be a Spring rendezvous with Europe in a yet to be announced location, before moving onto Kazan – the sporting capital of Russia – from June 15-16. Following Russia, the series will head to its traditional home in Budapest, Hungary from July 13-14, where crowds will watch in awe as Hall and his contemporaries roar under the famed Széchenyi Chain Bridge at 370km/h, to begin a lap in one of the fastest tracks of the season.

From Budapest to Japan, the Chiba prefecture and it’s ever-passionate fans will host the fifth race of the year from September 7-8, before a soon-to-be-revealed Asian location makes it two races on the trot in the region.

A dash across the Pacific Ocean will then see the world’s fastest pilots duke it out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the USA from October 19-20, for the penultimate race of the year. The final stop – and most likely title decider – will take place in Saudi Arabia from November 8-9.

Happy hunting ground: Hall has claimed more victories in Europe than any other region, including a victory in Lausitz, Germany ahead of hometown hero Matthias Dolderer – the eventual world champion that year.

For Hall, the impending season marks another opportunity to taste the world championship glory that has so narrowly evaded him on three separate occasions. In a career spanning six victories and 26 podiums, four of which were overall season results (third in 2009; second 2015,2016,2018), the Novocastrian has a firm belief that he has the team and the tools to realise a dream.

“We think we can be the world champions, we’ve been so close three times now. Second in the world three times means we’ve got a good formula, team and plane and I think we can do it,” Hall affirmed.

“Just the other day we got out at our airport with one of our planes and ran through a race simulation as a team, and the adrenaline kicked in. Everyone had a smile on their face and looked at each other with fire in their eyes, it’s like ‘yep, this is why we do it and we’re ready to go’”.

Of the locations announced Hall has tasted victory in only Chiba, Japan, but his form in other locations suggest he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. From his six victories four have occurred in Europe, while he has two podiums in Budapest (2016 and 2018) as well as a second place in Abu Dhabi (2015). In 2017 the former RAAF fighter pilot topped qualifying in Indianapolis, while he also scored the track record in Russia, 2018.

The 2019 Red Bull Air Race World Championship kicks off from February 8-9 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Aussie fans can come up to speed with what happened in 2018 with a season recap on 10 Boldfrom 3pm-4pm AEDT this Saturday February 2.

This year’s season opening race in the UAE can be watched LIVE on www.redbullairrace.com/live.

2019 RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR

  1.  Feb 8-9: Abu Dhabi, UAE
  2. TBA: Europe
  3. Jun 15-16: Kazan, RUS
  4. July 13-14: Budapest, HUN
  5. Sep 7-8: Chiba, JPN
  6. TBA: Asia
  7. 19-20 Oct: Indianapolis, USA
  8. 8-9 Nov: Saudi Arabia