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On Sunday, Germany’s Florian Bergér won the first Challenger Class race ever held at one of the favorite stops in the Red Bull Air Race: San Diego, California, USA. American Kevin Coleman earned his first-ever home podium with second place, while Poland’s
Luke Czepiela claimed third.
San Diego California (USA) – The second Red Bull Air Race stop of 2017 saw the Challenger Class season heating up in sunny San Diego, California, with 2016 Challenger Cup winner Florian Bergér of Germany taking his first race win of the season against a furious charge from the USA’s own Kevin Coleman. In the inaugural Challenger race at the US aviation hub, Bergér set the pace early with 1:09.383, and as winds began to rise, a stellar effort by Coleman could produce only 1:10.802 for second place, while Luke Czepiela of Poland earned third with 1:12.576.
Now in its fourth season, the Challenger Class was conceived to give outstanding pilots a training ground for building their Air Racing skills to the level necessary to compete for the World Championship, and Bergér’s experience in his third season was a clear advantage in rebounding from fourth place in San Diego Qualifying.
“This was my first win outside Europe, so I’m really happy. This is a special place – I saw the videos of the previous San Diego races long before I was in the Red Bull Air Race and always wanted to race here. And now a win? It’s perfect,” said Bergér. “It was quite a technical track and anything was possible; yesterday in Qualifying even some of the newer pilots were in front of me, so today I was very nervous. But it all went well!”
Also contending in the Challenger Class showdown in San Diego were three newcomers to the Challenger Class this season: Baptiste Vignes of France, Daniel Genevey of Hungary and Kenny Chiang of China.
The Challengers will get their next opportunity to earn points at the fourth stop of the eight-race Red Bull Air Race season in Budapest, Hungary on 1-2 July 2017.
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