Matt Hall's campaign to win the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship comes to an end in Forth Worth, TX, this weekend one way or the other.
The Australian is one of three pilots that can be crowned champion at the end of the day, and two whom the title will pass is a matter of mathematics.
Sitting third in the championship, Hall goes into the eighth and final round on Sunday two points behind second placed Martin Šonka and seven points behind series leader Michael Goulian. With 15 points on the line for a race win, Hall knows he can take the series with a good performance.
" ... a lot can change quickly in this game, and seven points can definitely be pegged back," the Australian said. "Just last round we saw Mike [Goulian] come from nine points behind the leader to jump into first. I am good enough to become world champion and our team has worked hard enough to be in a position to challenge for the title.
“To be in the best place to win it all this weekend, realistically we need to win the race. So, that is what we’re here to do, that is our focus. I will go home content if we win the race, knowing that we did everything we possibly could to finish atop the standings.”
Even if Hall doesn't stand on the top of the podium, there are still some mathematical scenarios that could deliver him the trophy.
- If Hall wins the Fort Worth race and Šonka finishes 2nd and Goulian 4th, the Aussie will be world champion by a 1 point margin.
- If Hall finishes 2nd he will be champion if Goulian doesn't finish 1st-6th, or Šonka doesn't finish 1st.
- If Hall finishes 3rd he will be champion if Goulian doesn't finish 1st-9th, or Šonka doesn't finish 1st-4th.
If Hall finishes 4th, he can't claim the title and will finish the season in third place.
“As far as the championship is concerned, we have nothing to lose," Hall said. "We come into this race in third place overall and at worst, will leave in that same position.”
It's not Hall's style to go for a safe finish and hope the numbers fall his way; he will be racing to win on Sunday.
"There have been some questions asked about whether or not we will create a strategy for this race based on how competitive Mike and Martin are, but that won’t be the case," he said. "The two races where I have made mistakes were ones that I was too focused on my competitors and not on myself.
“When I only compete with myself, I know I am fast, and I know I will win races. That was the case in both France and Japan this season and I am aiming to replicate those winning results this weekend.”
Qualifying is on Saturday at 3.00 pm Texas time (8.00 am Sunday morning AEST) with the race for the championship starting on Sunday with the Round of 14 at 1.00 pm Texas time (6.00 am AEST) and the Round of 8 starting at 3.00 pm Texas time (8.00 am AEST).
The race can be streamed live at www.airrace.redbull.com