Red Bull Air Race: Results For Abu Dhabi
Britain's Paul Bonhomme won the season opening Red Bull Air Race. It was his fourth win in Abu Dhabi and he did it with an impressive flight through cross winds and blistering temperatures over the stunning blue water of the Arabian Gulf today. The Final Four times were incredibly close, he was just 8/100ths of a second ahead of Australian Matt Hall while Canadian Pete McLeod finished third just over a second behind the winner.
"That was a busy day's work," said Bonhomme after the race, "Maybe the other teams are slow coming round the blocks at the start of the season, where our team gets there a bit quicker." Hall now uses "winglets" on the outer edge of his wings and says they are making him quicker, "I'm happy to be on the podium but it's kind of frustrating to be so close to winning. It was just eight one-hundredths of a second! That's about the length of an aircraft that separated us." Like Bonhomme, Garmin Racing's Pete McLeod was happy to repeat a podium finish in Abu Dhabi but says they still have work to do on his engine saying, "It's been a challenging race for us getting the plane going... to come out with a podium finish is great... two days ago we didn't think it was possible." At the press conference after the race he added, "These guys are fierce competitors and that's the challenge."
The two other North American racers did not have a good day. Kirby Chambliss was injured after his canopy came off. Team Chambliss posted a statement on Facebook saying, "Kirby's canopy came off when he was in the hold and warming up, waiting for Peter to finish in Heat 2. The canopy hit him in the face resulting in a possible broken nose and a few scratches. He is going to be fine!" In the post race comments he added, "We were in a good spot and running good, so it's just bad luck, I guess."
Mike Goulian struck two pylons and the resulting penalties knocked him out of contention early on, "I'd planned my flight for one way, but the wind was in the other direction and I made a couple of mistakes by hitting two pylons. I was getting too deep in the turns and getting off line. That also cost me time as I tried to get back on track. I've got a great race plane and a great team, so we're going to improve," he said.
Results: 1. Paul Bonhomme (GBR), 2. Matt Hall (AUS), 3. Pete McLeod (CAN), 4. Hannes Arch (AUT), 5. Nigel Lamb (GBR), 6. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 7. Peter Besenyei (HUN), 8. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 9. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 10. Martin Sonka (CZE). 11. Francois Le Vot (FRA), 12. Michael Goulian (USA), 13. Juan Velarde (ESP), 14. Kirby Chambliss (USA)
World Championship Standings: 1. Bonhomme (12 points), 2. Hall (9), 3. McLeod (7), 4. Arch (5), 5. Lamb (4), 6. Muroya (3), 7. Besenyei (2), 8. Ivanoff (1), 9. Dolderer, 10. Sonka, 11. Le Vot, 12. Goulian, 13. Velarde, 14. Chambliss
The next race will be in Chiba, Japan on May 16/17.
Watch a replay of the race at this link RED BULL AIR RACE