Red Bull Air Race Season Kicks Off in Abu Dhabi

Japan's Yoshihide Muroya returns to the podium for the first Red Bull Air Race of the season.

Yoshi Muroya
Muroya pushed his Edge 540 to the limit, winning the first 2019 RBAR race by a margin of 0.003 seconds.Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

The first race for the 2019 season of the Red Bull Air Race World Championships kicked off last weekend in Abu Dhabi. As in previous years, the race course was set up just off shore from the capitol of the United Arab Emirates, providing thousands of spectators a front row view of the competition.

This time it was the winner of the 2017 season, Yoshihide Muroya, who took the top spot on the podium and collected the maximum 28 points after a very tight race. A mere 0.003 seconds separated the Japanese pilot from second place contender Martin Sonka from the Czech Republic. Michael Goulian had the lead in the first lap of his Final Four flight, but ended up finishing third only 0.23 seconds away from the top place on the podium.

The biggest disappointment was suffered by Frenchman Nicolas Ivanoff, who couldn’t get his airplane started in time for his Final Four round. Nonetheless, since he made it to the Final Four Ivanoff finished in fourth place and received 18 points. Ivanoff is the second most experienced Red Bull Air Race pilot with 12 seasons, topped only by Kirby Chambliss who is flying for the 14th year. Chambliss ended up in the middle of the pack and collected 11 points.

Some points are certainly better than none as the cumulative amount determines the winner for the season. With such tight margins, nearly any of the Master Class competitors can take home the World Championship title at the end of the year.

Seven additional competitions remain. The date and location for the next race have not yet been determined, though it will be somewhere in Europe. Upcoming races will take place in Kazan, Russia; Budapest, Hungary; Chiba, Japan, a yet to be determined location in Asia; and Indianapolis; before the final race in Saudi Arabia in November.