SAN DIEGO – The Red Bull Air Race World Championship in San Diego had quite a few upsets Sunday.
Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroya of Japan was the only pilot with the consistency to reach the top of the podium, according to race officials.
Peter Podlunšek from Slovenian stunned the field in capturing second place in his first-ever Final 4 and American Kirby Chambliss finished fourth.
Earning 15 World Championship points with the victory, Muroya jumped up 10 places in the overall standings, to third behind Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic (21 points) and Dolderer (16). The result was especially meaningful because the next stop of the season is in Muroya’s home skies of Chiba, Japan – where he earned his first Red Bull Air Race win in 2016, race officials said.
“I’m quite happy. We had a very hard time at the season opener in Abu Dhabi, and we’ve been working really hard for months,” said Muroya. “My crew and my family have been helping a lot to help us get more stable and consistent, and I thank them. The next race in Japan is going to be a big one, and it’s an important step forward to win here as I head to my home country. It’s a huge crowd and pressure for me, but I will have fun there.”
The races returned to San Diego for the first time in eight years. Event organizers said around 40,000 people watched the races.
The 2016 Challenger Cup winner Florian Bergér of Germany earned his first Challenger Class win of the season.