The Challengers racing in Abu Dhabi

Seven pilots looking to start the season in style

The Challengers in Abu Dhabi

It's a new season in the Challenger Class of the Red Bull Air Race and there will be seven pilots looking to get their season off to a flying start in Abu Dhabi. Here's how they line up:

Daniel Ryfa
Ryfa is the most experienced race pilot in the Challenger Class. As he enters his fourth season he knows that it's his time to shine. The Swedish pilot is always working on his lines and trying to shave seconds of his time. He finished second in the Challenger Cup last year and will be looking to go one better in 2017.

Kevin Coleman
The American pilot burst onto the scene in 2016, finishing second in all of his first three races and then taking a win in Ascot. He finished third overall, but he would've felt he should've done better. Coleman is always striving for improvement and could do well in Abu Dhabi.

Florian Bergér
Berger finished 2016 with two race wins and the Challenger Cup title. He won't want to let his grasp slip on the Challenger Cup and will be working hard to make sure he becomes the first pilot in Red Bull Air Race history to retain the Challenger Cup.

Ben Murphy
Murphy began his Challenger Class career in 2016 and was very methodical in his approach to flying in the racetrack. He learned quickly and his results improved as the season went on. He'll be here full of confidence and ready to race this season.

Melanie Astles
Astles is another pilot beginning her second season in the Challenger Class. She finished her debut season with a second place in Indianapolis and will be looking to build on that success in 2017.

Luke Czepiela
Czepiela won the final race of 2016 and also performed well in Abu Dhabi, he'll be looking to make his mark in 2017. He is entering his third season as a Challenger Class pilot and will want to make this season count!

Baptiste Vignes
Of the three new pilots to join the Challenger Class, Vignes is the only one flying in the season opener. He's not had as much track time as the others, but the highly experienced French aviator will take it all in his stride.

Follow all the action of this weekend's racing at www.redbullairrace.com/live.