The Chiba Challengers

The six pilots looking to be big in Japan

Cristian Bolton in the Chiba track

As we enter round three of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race World Championship it's all to play for, especially in the Challenger Cup. It's been a thrill-a-minute season so far, as Daniel Ryfa took the win in Abu Dhabi and Florian Bergér in Spielberg. Neither are racing in Chiba so there will be a new pilot standing on top of the podium in Japan 2016. Here's how the six competitors line up...

Melanie Astles'
This will be Astles first race over water. She performed well in Spielberg and was looking at a top four finish until she clipped a pylon towards the end of her run. Chiba is known for its testing weather conditions, but Astles has more than enough experience to cope.

Francis Barros
Now in his second season in the Challenger Cup, Barros wants to start climbing the leader board. This race could be his best chance so far. He is one of the more experienced pilots racing in Chiba, and along with Cristian Bolton, is the only other pilot to have raced here previously. If he can keep his cool it could be a podium for the Brazilian.

Cristian Bolton
Bolton is the most experienced pilot racing this weekend. This is his third season in the Challenger Cup and he will want to claim his first win of 2016 here in Japan. Last year in Chiba Bolton finished third and will use that experience and knowledge of the conditions to his advantage.

Kevin Coleman
Coleman has done nothing but impress out on the racetrack in his debut season. The American pilot has clinched two second place finishes in the opening two rounds with fantastic flying skills – can he make it a hat trick of podiums? We'll find out soon enough.

Luke Czepiela
After a year away from racing Czepiela returned for the 2016 season in fine form. He topped the Qualifying timesheet in his first race back, but couldn't repeat it on Race Day. After flying in Rovinj and Gdynia in 2014 he is well versed at racing over open water, so he could do well here.

Ben Murphy
This will be the ex-Red Arrow pilot's second race in the Challenger Cup. He flew at the season opener in Abu Dhabi but collected a DQ for crossing the safety line. He'll be looking to put that behind him as he aims for a podium in Chiba.

Don't miss out on all the action – be at the scene to see who takes the win in the Challenger Cup! Get your tickets for Red Bull Air Race Chiba right HERE!