2018 China Drone Racing Open Winner
The 2018 China Drone Racing Open in Shenzhen Universiade stadium was held as a test event for the first FAI World Drone Racing Championships, which are being held in the same venue later this year, November 1st thru 4th 2018.
And it’s a win for the girls!
On Sunday May 13 eleven year old Wanraya Wannapong of Thailand won the event after three days of competion. Wanraya Wannapong who is a junior in high school respose after the win
That’s what I would call performing under pressure.
2018 China Drone Racing Open Friday Qualifying Rounds
The event started on Friday May 11 2018 begining with four qualifying rounds comprised of sixty two pilots.
Fourteen year old MinChan Kim from South Korea finished first in qualifying. The top three qualifying spot were held by South Korean pilots
KIM MinChan with a time of 25.575, KANG ChangHyeon with a time of 26.253, and JEON JeoHyeon with a time of 29.703.
Jose Manuel Martinez-Ibanez, one of the FAI judges said of MinChan Kim
“It was amazing to see him fly.”
MinChan Kim was quoted sas saying
“I flew my first race slowly but I actually then crashed,” “but I got faster in the later races.”
He then added
“Lets see what happens in the next rounds – I am hopeful, but I am also worried about crashing again!”
2018 China Drone Racing Open Saturday Elimination Rounds
As the event moved on to the Saturday First Elimination round all eyes were on the powerful South Korean pilots and especially MinChan Kim.
Kim did not disappoint. Kim describes his stratagy “I flew first,” “and I flew slow, at 85 seconds. My fastest time is 76 seconds.”
A lap time of 30 seconds was considered a fast lap, and only three pilots scored an average time of less than 30 seconds a lap in Friday’s qualifying.
Kim also change his drone.
“I changed my drone – I wanted to keep my main drone for later in the competition,”
In the Elimination races only the two fastest pilots of each four go through to the next round.
Temperatures on Saturday were in the the 30 degress celsius 82 degress fahrenheit area, with 92% humidity.
With the field now set to sixteen pilots the Sunday finals are set to begin and decide a champion.
2018 China Drone Racing Open Sunday Finals
At the start of Sunday’s finals the South Korean contingent was the favortie due to their impressive performance in the qualifying and elimination rounds.
But things didn’t work out as hoped.
MinChan Kim, 14, who had topped Qualifying with an average lap-time speed of 25.575 seconds also won the first Elimination round.
Kim’s had a tough time in the quarter-finals, and he crashed out. This left the door open for someone else to take the crown.
In the final race to decide it all and who would be crowned champion of the 2018 China Drone Racing Open it came down to the final four pilots.
Wanraya Wannapong of Thailand, one of only two girls in the competition, Junwhi Rhee (South KOR), Beomjin Choi (South KOR) and SangHan Lee (South KOR).
The finals came down to three laps aroung the Shenzhen Universiade stadium drone racing course.
At the buzzer signally the start of the championship contest disaster struck two of the pilots and Wannapong found herself leading the race.
Beomjin Choi of South Korea gave chase and displayed some impressive flying trying to catch Wanraya but, his all in gambit to rein in the leader cost him just
seconds from the end of the race when he hit a gate and crashed and the eleven year old girl Wanraya Wannapong of Thailand had just flown to a wire to wire win at the 2018 China Drone Racing Open.
Congratulation Wanraya Wannapong 2018 China Drone Racing Open Champion.
Wanraya Wannapong was later quoted as saying she was “very happy” with her win.
The Drone Racing Track
The venue, Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre is a 30,000-capacity stadium and featured a purpose-built drone-racing track
Bengt Lindgren, Executive Director of the FAI, said he had been “really impressed” with the track. “There are fast parts and there are slow parts … so they really have to fly it accurately otherwise they lose.”
The FAI will be back here in November 2018 when the FAI World Drone Racing Championships will take place at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China, November 1 thru 4 2018.