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The 2018 world championship, using the 2019 points system

New for the 2019 Red Bull Air Race World Championship will be a points system that provides higher reward for top race finishes, as well as a points incentive for the top three in every qualifying session.

Read more about the 2019 points system and other rule changes for the Red Bull Air Race HERE.

With the announcement of the new points structure, the bean counters in our office thought it would be interesting to see what the 2018 world championship standings would have looked like, using the 2019 system. As it happens, as much as the points changed, the standings saw little movement.

Czech pilot Martin Šonka claimed the 2018 title, and when his results from last year were scored with the 2019 points – including those awarded for qualifying – he would have remained in first place on 162 points. In fact, his margin to second place would have increased from five to seven points under the new system.

The biggest change was in the race for second. While Matt Hall claimed runner-up status in 2018, had the newly introduced points structure been in place it would have been American Michael Goulian who was runner-up, with Hall in third.

In that scenario, Goulian would have scored 155 points to Hall’s 153. Of  Goulian’s haul, 10 points would have come from qualifying, while just two of Hall’s were accumulated during qualifying. It underscores the Australian’s strength in converting consistent race results but highlights a need for greater emphasis on qualifying in the new year.

Irrespective of that position change, applying the new points to last season’s results underscored the consistency of Šonka, Goulian and Hall at the top of the tree. With the new points, their closest competitor would then have been Japanese pilot and 2017 world champion Yoshihide Muroya on 99 points – a distant 54 points, or more than two race wins behind the top three.

Using the old system, Muroya finished 2018 in fifth with France’s Mika Brageot in fourth. But with the 2019 points in play, Muroya and Brageot would have both accumulated 99 points, however the former would have been awarded fourth with two second place finishes to the latter’s one.

Throughout the rest of the field, there would have been just two more position changes to the 2018 standings under the new regime. Spaniard Juan Velarde would have moved from ninth to eighth, relegating Canada’s Pete McLeod to ninth, while Frenchman Fançois Le Vot would have jumped from 11thto 10th, displacing compatriot Nicolas Ivanoff in the process.

With a new season set to kick off in Abu Dhabi, UAE from February 8-9, this season has the potential to see a shake-up of the pecking order come the end of 2019. While little would have changed in last year’s results with the new points, expect to see qualifying sessions become even more competitive with the carrot of more points dangling in front of the pilots.

2018 RBAR STANDINGS – 2018 POINTS SYSTEM

1. Martin Sonka (CZE) – 80
2. Matt Hall (AUS) – 75
3. Michael Goulian (USA) – 73
4. Mike Brageot (FRA) – 41
5. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) – 40
6. Kirby Chambliss (USA) – 34
7. Ben Murphy (GBR) – 29
8. Pete McLeod (CAN) – 27
9. Juan Velarde (ESP) – 24
10. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) – 22
11. Francois Le Vot (FRA) – 22
12. Matthias Dolderer (GER) – 17
13. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) – 16
14. Cristian Bolton (CHL) – 12

2018 RBAR STANDINGS – 2019 POINTS SYSTEM

1. Martin Sonka (CZE) – 162
2. Michael Goulian (USA) – 155
3. Matt Hall (AUS) – 153
4. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) – 99
5. Mike Brageot (FRA) – 99
6. Kirby Chambliss (USA) – 93
7. Ben Murphy (GBR) – 82
8. Juan Velarde (ESP) – 77
9. Pete McLeod (CAN) – 72
10. Francois Le Vot (FRA) – 64
11. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) – 60
12. Matthias Dolderer (GER) – 55
13. Petr Kopfstein (CZE)  – 43
14. Cristian Bolton (CHL) – 34

See more news from Red Bull Air Race, HERE.

(Cover image: Mihai Stetcu/Red Bull Content Pool)