News & Multimedia

Challenger Cup Pilots Bergér and Astles Clinch Historic Firsts in Indianapolis

Due to unfavorable weather conditions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway early on Sunday afternoon, specifically low clouds and rain, the Race Committee was forced to cancel the final of the Challenger Cup. This meant that the Challenger Class race podium at the iconic motorsport oval was based on Saturday’s Qualifying session, with pilots awarded 50 percent of the points.

The final season tally gave the repeat Challenger Cup to Bergér, at 38 points, with Sweden’s Daniel Ryfa (34 pts) taking his fourth consecutive overall podium in second place, and Luke Czepiela of Poland (34 pts) earning his first overall podium in third.

“On the one hand I’m very happy to have won, but I would rather have flown to lose or win the first position here. So I’m a little bit disappointed not to fly, but it’s great to have a second overall title,” said Bergér.

The Challenger Class was introduced to help outstanding pilots build their Air Racing skills to the elite level to potentially race in the Master Class that competes for the World Championship, and Astles was elated to complete her second season of competition on the high note of her first race win. In addition to rewriting the record books as the first woman ever to win a major motorsport race at Indianapolis, she became the first woman to win a race on a Red Bull Air Race weekend.

“I’m feeling really great. I think this racetrack is for me really a good one, because I’m setting all my career records here – my first podium last year, my first Qualifying win yesterday, and then that Quali became a race! So yesterday, without knowing it, I was winning my race,” Astles explained. “Because it wasn’t Race Day, I think I was more relaxed, and this was probably what made me win. So now I know what to do – I just have to stop thinking it’s a race and everything will be fine! I’m really looking forward to next year.”

Czepiela earned second place for the Indianapolis race, and Great Britain’s Ben Murphy was third.

With conditions improving, the Master Class race that will determine the 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship is underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Results Challenger Class, Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2017: 1. Mélanie Astles (FRA), 2. Luke Czepiela (POL), 3. Ben Murphy (GBR) 4. Florian Bergér (GER) 5. Kevin Coleman (USA), 6. Daniel Ryfa (SWE)

Final Challenger Cup Overall Standings 2017: 1. Florian Bergér (GER) 38 points, 2. Daniel Ryfa (SWE) 34 pts, 3. Luke Czepiela (POL) 34 pts, 4. Kevin Coleman (USA) 27 pts, 5. Mélanie Astles (FRA) 23 pts, 6. Ben Murphy (GBR) 19 pts, 7. Baptiste Vignes (FRA) 14 pts, 8. Kenny Chiang (CHN) 12 pts, 9. Daniel Genevey (HUN) 12 pts


Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Melanie Astles
 
Challenger Cup Pilots Bergér and Astles Clinch Historic Firsts in Indianapolis
History was made twice at the Red Bull Air Race season finale on Sunday, 15 October 2017, when Challenger Class pilot Mélanie Astles of France became the first woman to claim a major motorsport win of any kind at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Germany’s Florian Bergér became the first pilot ever to win back-to-back Challenger Cup season championships.
Read More
Related Media
Takuma Sato
 
Japanese Stars Sato, Muroya Compare Secrets of Speed on Track, in Air during IMS Visit
At the holy grail of motorsport – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato met fellow countryman and Red Bull Air Race pilot Yoshihide Muroya to discuss the art of motorsport. The season finale this weekend will determine whether Muroya brings home Japan’s first World Championship trophy in the sport.
Read More
Melanie Astles
 
Red Bull Air Race Challenger Qualifying Belongs to Mélanie Astles
Challenger pilot Melanie Astles set the fastest time in this afternoon's Qualifying session with a time no other competitor could beat. Astles was second to fly and set the early pace with her 1:18.059.
Read More
RBAR Race Weekend Preview
 
Keep Your Eyes on the Skies at IMS, Watch for The Big One at Talladega This Weekend
The race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and MotoGP World Championship continue this weekend, with the rubber meeting the road on four and two wheels. But another intense motorsport championship that captures attention around the globe will decide its champion this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – in the air.
Read More
Pete McLeod
 
McLeod Soars from Canadian Wilderness into Title Contention in Red Bull Air Race
A typical day of fun for Pete McLeod as a Canadian teenager involved flying fishermen to distant destinations that often aren’t found on maps. Growing up with such an affinity for airplanes and experiencing the joy of letting go in the air prepared him for the thrill of competing in such events as the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Michael Goulian
 
Family Ties to Aviation Helped American Goulian Take Off as A World-Class Aerobatic Pilot
As the son of a Federal Aviation Administration pilot examiner, Michael Goulian always had an interest in airplanes.
Read More
Items 11 - 15 of 235
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21
 
We've created a new webpage that will help even an #Indy500 first-timer enjoy Race Day like a pro! Check it out:… https://t.co/kB4UhMmAKR
May 21