Chiba (JAPAN) – To the cheers – and even tears – of 50,000 home fans, Japanese pilot Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroya broke through the clouds over Toyko Bay for a breakthrough of his own: his first race win in five seasons of competition for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. As the only Asian pilot of the ultimate motorsport series in the sky, Muroya showed why his countrymen call him “Eternal Pioneer,” logging a historic first for Japan and the entire continent as well. The victory on Sunday was a nail-biter right to the last fraction of a second. Muroya’s time of 1:04.992 barely edged out the 1:05.097 clocked by Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic. Kirby Chambliss of the USA finished a fiercely competitive third.
The result in Chiba – which was the first podium of the season for all three top finishers – breaks the World Championship wide open with five races still to go. At the top of the standings, Matthias Dolderer of Germany has seen his lead cut to a mere 10 points ahead of the second place position now held by the American Chambliss, while Nicolas Ivanoff of France, who did not compete due to illness, clings to the third spot by just one point over Muroya.
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