After a hard-fought contest that culminated with a fast and furious day of eliminations, Marco Matthai – Vilano FPV – was crowned winner of the Barcelona Drone Racing F3U World Cup 2018 in Les Comes, Spain yesterday.
He beat off competition from some 70 pilots from all over Europe, some of whom travelled from as far afield as Russia and Macedonia. But despite his impressive performance, the 25-year-old German pilot has only been flying for a year.
Like all those taking part, he loved the track, which he suggests may have contributed to his success. “I’m not used to this style of track,” Matthai said. “It has a lot of space and is very fast; I liked it. I was getting better and better. My final run was my best: perfect timing!”
He is now hoping to continue in the same style – perhaps all the way to the 1st FAI World Drone Racing Championships in China later this year. “If I can repeat it maybe I can qualify for the World Championships in Shenzen,” he said.
However, Matthai, who urges all drone racing fans to “get a drone and fly, you need as much stick time as possible”, was not the only pilot to show some serious skills at this event.
Saturdays qualifications had seen the young winner of the 2018 WDR Paris World Cup, Killian Rousseau, post the fastest lap, putting him in pole position as he went into the last 32.
But Rousseau crashed out on the first lap of the final, dashing his hopes of another World Cup win in Spain. He therefore finished fourth in the closely fought race, behind Polish pilot Jan Wielgosz in second place, and Rui Antunes from Portugal in third position.
The competition was held at the outdoor centre of Les Comes north of Barcelona, which is blessed with a natural bowl perfect for racing.
The track made use of the terrain with sections negotiating obstacles such as trees as well as man-made tunnels and gates, and was located in a natural hollow that afforded spectators a fantastic view of the action.
Freespace Drone Racing, which has recently signed a deal with the FAI, also wowed the fans with giant drone demonstration races showing just how visually exciting these larger drones are for the crowds. Measuring half a metre long, they are easy to follow and sound equally impressive.
Many congratulations to all the competitors and the winners – and thanks to everyone who worked on and attended this fantastic event!
1. Marco Matthai from Germany
2. Jan Wielgosz from Poland
3. Rui Antunes from Portugal
4. Killian Rousseau from France
5. Bastian Hackl from Austria