After his success at round five in Ascot Matt Hall arrived in Germany in fine form and wanted to show that Matthias Dolderer wasn't going to have it all his own way in 2016.
The 2016 season was in full swing when the Red Bull Air Race went to Germany for the final European round of the year. Matthias Dolderer was leading the championship, but Matt Hall had found his mojo and was flying at a blistering pace, he was planning on pushing Dolderer all the way.
The series had raced at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz back in 2010, Hannes Arch won then and he wanted to repeat his effort, as he was the closest to catching Dolderer before the race.
Free Practice 1 saw Hall at the top of the timesheet with Dolderer just 0.701s behind him. Martin Sonka, who had a point to prove after being stripped of his Ascot points, was third.
In the later session Sonka took the top spot with a time of 53.599s with Hall in second and Chambliss third. Dolderer had a terrible run as he tried to find a different line, he collected penalties in every run, which pushed him down to ninth.
The final practice session showed how close the competition is in the Master Class with the top 10 pilots all posting times within 1.566s of each other. Once again Hall was top. Petr Kopfstein was second with an amazing run in Free Practice 3. Sonka was third and it seemed Dolderer could not find the correct line as he had another penalty-riddled run, but it was time to focus on Qualifying.
EuroSpeedway in pictures
Nigel Lamb, who had looked good in all the sessions, was quickest in Qualifying crossing the Finish Gate in just 53.110s – a track record. This was Lamb's last chance to get a podium finish in Europe before he retired.
Matt Hall finished just below Lamb, but was more than one second behind the Brit. Yoshihide Muroya was in third, and it seemed the home race pressure was getting to Dolderer, who was down in seventh and was to face Michael Goulian in the Round of 14.
Race Day arrived and with it the rain, delaying the start of the Round of 14. Each pilot went into their hangar to try and keep the focus up until they were called to race.
Pete McLeod was to face François Le Vot in the first heat and the Canadian laid down a time that was too quick for Le Vot who once again could not get out of the first round.
When Goulian came to fly against Dolderer he posted a time of 54.263s, the fastest of the day at that point. The home race hero was going to have to forget about his earlier sessions if he wanted to qualify for the Round of 8. He flew perfectly and beat Goulian's time by 0.735s to see him go through. Goulian's time was quick enough for him to go through as the fastest loser. Matt Hall beat Peter Podlunsek in his heat and Martin Sonka knocked out Nigel Lamb in a closely fought battle.
The Final 4 was to comprise of Pete McLeod, Martin Sonka, Matt Hall and Matthias Dolderer. McLeod flew first and posted a time of 54.916s – his fastest time of the race week. It was a good clean effort. Sonka flew next and stalled the wing of his raceplane in the vertical turning manoeuvre costing him valuable time in the track and as he crossed the line he was behind McLeod.
Hall was to fly third and put in a time of 53.642s, instantly promoting him to first with only Dolderer to fly. The pressure was on the German pilot, could he be the first German to win in front of his home fans? At the first split time he was behind Hall by 0.213s, but by the second spilt he was 0.021s ahead, he pushed forward to take the win, but Hall's MXS-R was quicker in the vertical turning manoeuvres and when Dolderer passed the Finish Gate he was 0.775s behind the Australian, giving him second place.
Hall collected his second win of the season and closed down Dolderer's lead in the championship standings, McLeod took his first podium of the season and there was going to be everything to play for once the teams arrived in the US for the final two rounds of the season.