Muroya claims first win and Lamb flies into 4th Place in Chiba

Posted on: 13th Jun 2016

Yoshihide Muroya wrote a new page in Japan’s sporting history on Sunday with his first race win – and

the first-ever for Asia – at the Red Bull Air Race World Championship stop in Chiba, Japan. The home

hero needed luck as well as supreme skill in a breathtakingly close battle, where Martin Šonka of the

Czech Republic claimed second, while the USA’s Kirby Chambliss took third. Nigel Lamb of Great Britain

narrowly missed out on a podium placing in 4th. 


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, and

Lamb missed the podium by 0.1 of a second, having not been able to match the much faster time he flew in

the previous round. 


Conditions changed from moment to moment in Chiba’s tight and technical racetrack, keeping pilots on

the edge and in the penalties. Muroya’s win looked improbable as he began the race with a one-second

penalty for insufficient smoke, but his strong flying pushed his opponents in the Round of 14 and the

Round of 8 to exceed the G limit, advancing the Japanese hero to the final, where less than eight-tenths

of a second separated the four pilots’ results. Šonka, meanwhile, earned the DHL Fastest Lap award for

his blistering time of 1:04.352 in the opening round.


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. The middle of the field is clumped closely behind, and the

title is still anyone’s to seize.


“It feels very special. We were very close to Martin in the times, but the fans pushed us into the win,”

said Muroya, who noted that his Team Falken is working together exceptionally well. “I’ve been flying for

25 years and this is my first win, so it’s taken a long time. It's a big, big moment.”

Earlier in the day, Chile’s Cristian Bolton was victorious in the Challenger Class, while American Kevin

Coleman launched to the top of the Challenger leaderboard with his third consecutive second-place



Tickets for all stops of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship – including the next race in the

scenic heart of Budapest, Hungary on 16-17 July – are on sale now. For more information on tickets and

all the latest, visit


Results Master Class Chiba:1. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 2. Martin Sonka (CZE), 3. Kirby Chambliss

(USA), 4. Nigel Lamb (GBR), 5. Juan Velarde (ESP), 6. Hannes Arch (AUT), 7. Matt Hall (AUS), 8.

Matthias Dolderer (GER), 9. Petr Kopfstein (CZE), 10. François Le Vot (FRA), 11. Peter Podlunšek

(SLO), 12. Pete McLeod (CAN), 13. Michael Goulian (USA), 14. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA)


World Championship Standings: 1. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 30 pts, 2. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 20 pts, 3.

Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 19 pts, 4. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 18 pts, 5. Hannes Arch (AUT) 17 pts, 6. Nigel

Lamb (GBR) 16 pts, 7. Martin Šonka (CZE) 14 pts, 8. Matt Hall (AUS) 12 pts, 9. Pete McLeod (CAN) 11

pts., 10. François Le Vot (FRA) 10 pts, 11. Juan Velarde (ESP) 7 pts, 12. Michael Goulian (USA) 6 pts.,

13. Peter Podlunšek (SLO) 3 pts, 14. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 2 pts