Matt Hall Snags Second 2018 Red Bull Air Race Win

Hall ties Goulian for the lead after a disappointing finish for the fan favorite in Chiba, Japan.

Michael Goulian, Matt Hall and Martin Sonka celebrate after a tough battle in Chiba, Japan.Balazs Gardi/Red Bull Content Pool

The Red Bull Air Race in Chiba, Japan, this weekend did not disappoint when it comes to the excitement the races have become known for. Australian pilot Matt Hall ended up standing on top of the Masters Class podium for the second time this season, beating out American Michael Goulian by only three tenths of a second. The two pilots have dominated the first three races and are now tied at 36 points each.

Last year’s overall winner, Yoshi Muroya, who was on home court in Chiba, is in third place so far with 19 points tied with Czech pilot Martin Sonka who finished third in Chiba. Muroya’s team was hoping for a third home win in front of 70,000 fans at Makuhari Beach. After qualifying in third, a risky last minute decision was made to change the tail configuration for Muroya’s race airplane. But the Round of 14 proved too much for Muroya as he was teamed up with Hall and pushed a bit too hard. He exceeded the G-limit and was disqualified.

“The fan culture in Japan is amazing, so enthusiastic,” said Hall. “I knocked their guy out and they still embrace me.”

The second American competitor in the Masters Class, Kirby Chambliss, who had a terrific season last year with a fourth place finish overall, has had a challenging beginning this year. After a great start in Abu Dhabi, where he finished third and gained nine points, Chambliss has been scoreless in the past two races.

The group of 24 top-notch pilots, 14 in the Masters Class and 10 in the Challenger Class, will continue their epic battle for the ultimate World Championship trophy on June 23 and 24 in Budapest. The races then move on to Kazan, Russia in August; Wiener Neustadt, Austria in September and Indianapolis in October. The location for the final race in November has not yet been finalized.