Japan Makes History at Indy, Wins Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2017

Yoshi Muroya celebrates Red Bull Air Race Championship with Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato  (Photo:  J.T. Cocherell - Cocherell Photo)
Yoshi Muroya celebrates Red Bull Air Race Championship with Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (Photo: J.T. Cocherell – Cocherell Photo)

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2017 flew into Indy over the weekend where history continued over from May.  Japan’s second win at Indy came just 5 months after their first when Takuma Sato won the Indy 500, but this time in the air and pilot Yoshi Muroya at the controls.

Yoshi Muroya & Takuma Sato kiss the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway  (Photo:  J.T. Cocherell - Cocherell Photo)
Yoshi Muroya & Takuma Sato kiss the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo: J.T. Cocherell – Cocherell Photo)

After a disappointing 11th place qualifying run on Saturday under blue skies, out of the field of 14 Master Class pilots, Muroya’s confidence was on the rise due to fellow countryman, Sato, providing words of encouragement.

After several hours of rain and high winds that caused the Challenger Cup race to be canceled, the weather calmed enough for Master Class competition.  Now calmed, Muroya JPN set a course record.  With the pressure on, title leader Martin Sonka CZE finished 4th and dropped him to 2nd in points.

Yoshi Muroya celebrates Red Bull Air Race Championship 2017 (Photo:  J.T. Cocherell - Cocherell Photo)
Yoshi Muroya celebrates Red Bull Air Race Championship 2017 (Photo: J.T. Cocherell – Cocherell Photo)

In post race interview, Muroya admitted “Yesterday, I was thinking a little too much about the World Championship.  Then I just forget.  Each flight [I] focus. That makes it happen.”

This was Muroya’s 4th win of the year, also winning in San Diego, USA; Chiba, Japan; and Lausitz, Germany.

Master Class Red Bull Air Race Podium (Photo:  J.T. Cocherell - Cocherell Photo)
Master Class Red Bull Air Race Podium (Photo: J.T. Cocherell – Cocherell Photo)

Matthias Dolderer GER and Juan Velarde ESP finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

American and fan favorite Red Bull pilot Kirby Chambliss USA was on a hot run when he struck a pylon in the round of 14 ending his chance at a third world championship & knocking him off the title podium into 4th.

The Challenger Cup race was determined by the qualifying order the previous day when Mélanie Astles FRA became the first woman to win a major race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Luke Czepiela POL and Ben Murphy GBR rounded out the race podium.

Mélanie Astles kisses the bricks at IMS after winning the Challenger's Cup Red Bull Air Race. (Photo:  J.T. Cocherell)
Mélanie Astles kisses the bricks at IMS after winning the Challenger’s Cup Red Bull Air Race. (Photo: J.T. Cocherell)

Point standings ended with Florian Berger GER winning back to back Challenger Cup Championships with Daniel Ryfa SWE 2nd and Czepiela 3rd.

 

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