The second stop of 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship brings me back to the hometown of Red Bull for the third time in a row. I had a great time in Speilberg and made some awesome photographs during this event which was not just a mere airplane race but a complete sideshow including F1 car, Nascar and many other amazing performances. Also this time the first female pilot joined the Challenger Cup ranks.
Unique conditions of Spielberg’s alpine racetrack in play, made this second showdown of the eight-race season a total stunner. In addition to the excitement the Challenger Class featured the debut of a new contender, Mélanie Astles of France, who is the first woman ever to compete in the Red Bull Air Race.
The race never took place in Spielberg during the spring, so after a previous challenge over the Persian Gulf – at sea level in desert heat – this was a race over land, at an elevation of 677 meters in cool mountain air, hence unreal focus was needed to win at Red Bull Ring.
On a second day of training historic Chance Vought F4U-4 “Corsair” aircraft – one of only about 15 Corsairs left in the world – joined the flight. It is part of the vintage fleet curated by The Flying Bulls organization at the Hangar-7 aircraft museum in Salzburg.
Free Practice sessions are a chance for race teams to find their lines in the racetrack, and that’s especially crucial for Spielberg, an alpine setup that’s far from straightforward. The first half of each lap is uphill and technical, while the downhill on the second half encourages pilots to accelerate, bringing a potential for penalties like over G.
Speaking of Master Class, Germany’s Matthias Dolderer beat the elements, the obstacles and 13 of the world’s best pilots to become the first German ever to win a Red Bull Air Race event at the second stop of the 2016 season in Spielberg, Austria in this category. Home-country hero Hannes Arch, who has never won at home, finished second and Great Britain’s Nigel Lamb in third.
Everything was amazing in Spielberg in every possible way with so many things to shoot and enjoy in! Well, it’s so obvious – that is the home of Red Bull!