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Muroya wins second straight Red Bull Air RaceMuroya wins second straight Red Bull Air Race

Hometown hero Yoshihide Muroya moved to the top of the leader board on June 4 with a victory in Chiba, Japan, on the third stop of the eight-race 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Yoshihide Muroya of Japan performs during the finals at the third stage of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Chiba, Japan on June 4, 2017. Photo by Samo Vidic/Red Bull Content Pool.

Muroya’s victory, witnessed by about 90,000 air racing fans, was his second of the season, as well as a repeat of his 2016 win in Chiba, as he flew his Edge 540 V3 race airplane to a final four time of 55.288.

The result put Muroya 0.558 of a second ahead of the Czech Republic’s Petr Kopfstein, who earned a place on the podium for the first time with his result. Martin Sonka, also of the Czech Republic, finished third, gaining the race podium for the second time in 2017.

With the win closely following his victory in San Diego in April, Muroya—the first pilot from Asia to compete in the world championship—moved ahead of Sonka on the leader board for the first time in his career. Next the competition moves to Budapest, Hungary, July 1 and 2, followed by its debut in Russia July 22 and 23 in Kazan.

Japan's Yoshihide Muroya performs during the finals on June 4. Photo by Armin Walcher/Red Bull Content Pool.

“We are really happy to win again in Chiba, and I want to thank everybody here in Japan for their support. I had some luck, but in the end some of the other pilots made mistakes,” said Muroya, who is credited with being instrumental in raising awareness of the sport in the Asia region. “We have another five races, so we need to continue as we are doing. Our team setup is quite good, and we must stick with the same tactics, stay with the plan and go forward as normal to win more races.”

American pilot and AOPA ambassador Michael Goulian placed fifth in Chiba, with fellow American Kirby Chambliss in eighth place.

Although Muroya and Sonka are tied in points after Muroya’s “double repeat” win, they are far from alone in the hunt for the title. Defending World Champion Matthias Dolderer of Germany is seven points behind in third place, with Kopfstein six points behind him, and a large group of pilots clustered in the middle.

“For many, Budapest will be make-or-break,” said the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in announcing the Chiba results.

Topics: Air Racing, Pilots

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