Team Goulian Wins First 2018 Red Bull Air Race

Michael Goulian cranks his airplane tight around a pylon in the chicane in Abu Dhabi. Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

The 2018 season for the Red Bull Air Race World Championships kicked off this weekend in Abu Dhabi. It was a big race for Team Goulian as Michael Goulian pulled off his second career win. Goulian came close a few times last year, but luck was never on his side. He had not stood at the top of the podium for the past nine years.

“I had a feeling we would do well today, but I didn’t want to put the cart in front of the horse,” said Goulian after the race. “We want to be consistent now and we want to win races, but our aim is to make the Final 4, get the points and be in the challenge for the World Championship.” Goulian walked away with a trophy and is now in the series lead with 15 points.

Goulian wasn’t the only American racer who had a good start to the season. Kirby Chambliss finished fourth, though with strong results last year Chambliss was disappointed not to get a spot on the podium and felt he may have played it too safe. In the end, however, Chambliss placed third because a post flight inspection found that Martin Sonka’s magnetos were timed incorrectly, causing him to be disqualified from the Final 4. The disqualification dropped Sonka from third to fourth.

Last year’s champion, Yoshihide Muroya of Japan, finished in second place. The next race will take place in Cannes, France, on April 21 to 22.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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