Sunday, 02 March 2014 18:10
Red Bull Air Race World Championship returned from a three-year break with a
spectacular three-way battle for the victory in the bright blue skies over Abu
Dhabi with Britain’s Paul Bonhomme prevailing in front of thousands of
Britain’s Paul Bonhomme won the 2014
Red Bull Air Race World Championship season opener in Abu Dhabi on Saturday
with a clutch performance in a pressure-packed finale ahead of his perennial
rival Austria’s Hannes Arch in second and Canada’s Pete McLeod in third.
The defending champion had fallen behind both red-hot
McLeod, who got a career-first podium, and his old nemesis Arch in the penultimate
round of the high-speed, low-altitude racing over the turquoise waters of the
Arabian Gulf but managed to fly nearly two seconds faster in the final round
with the day’s best time – 56.439 seconds with Arch a blink of an eye behind in
56.776. It was a fittingly thrill-filled start to the 2014 season of the
world’s fastest motorsport series.
“There was huge pressure out there and it was so much
work to get back here,” said Bonhomme, who won the 2009 and 2010 championship
ahead of Arch. But both were worried that rule changes, such as the
introduction of standardized engines for all 12 pilots, would make the field
more competitive and that is exactly what happened with McLeod, Matt Hall of
Australia and Nigel Lamb of Britain, and Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic all
flying within a second of each other in Friday’s Qualifying session.
Results: 1. Paul Bonhomme
(GBR), 2. Hannes Arch (AUT), 3. Pete McLeod (CAN), 4. Matt
Hall (AUS), 5. Nigel Lamb (GBR), 6. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 7. Martin Sonka
(CZE), 8. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 9. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 10. Peter Besenyei
(HUN), 11. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 12. Michael Goulian (USA).
Photo by: Joerg Mitter
Friday, 28 February 2014 16:01
Canada’s Pete McLeod won a thrilling
Qualifying session in Abu Dhabi on Friday ahead of the 2014 Red Bull Air
Race World Championship season opener as the world’s fastest motorsport
series returns to the skies after a three-year break.
opening round of what promises to be the most exciting Red Bull Air
Race World Championship ever lived up to its billing in Qualifying when
Pete McLeod of Canada edged out defending champion Paul Bonhomme of
Britian by just fractions of a second to win pole position for
Saturday's season opener in the capital city of the United Arab
Emirates. Britian's Nigel Lamb was third while Austria's Hannes Arch was
fourth on the challenging track set up over the Arabian Gulf in front
of Abu Dhabi's glistening skyline.
the youngest pilot in the sport's history at 30, laid down a blistering
time of 57.932 compared to 58.129 for Bonhomme after the Canadian ace
adjusting for a dramatic shift in winds from the south in the morning to
the north in the afternoon that made the course especially difficult
for many of the 11 pilots who followed. Five pilots flying after McLeod
clipped the tops of the 25-meter pylons, sending the tips of the
pressurized Air Gates bursting up into the sky as crowds of excited
spectators watched the high-speed, low-altitude racing action along Abi
Dhabi’s Corniche Road and from the sandy beaches.
exciting to get first today,” said McLeod. “I felt really good in the
track and was really focused. Paul was right there behind me and there
were a bunch of other guys close behind too. Some of the other guys
after me might have had some misfortune with the wind changing or first
race qualifying round jitters.”
was a nail-biting afternoon for Arch, who hit a pylon in his first
Qualifying run and flew more conservatively in his second run, as well
as for Bonhomme. Gone are the days when the two seasoned aces - who have
won the last three championships - were well ahead of the pack because
the field has grown more competitive with all 12 pilots flying
standardized engines and many of the younger pilots have worked hard to
problem was that I smashed a pilot to bits in the first run and after
that it was important to keep my nerves together,” said Arch. “So I’m
satisfied that I was able to put down a solid time in the second run.
It’s great to be racing again.”
of the pilots initially thought the course was going to be easy
compared to the six previous races in Abu Dhabi, which has hosted the
season-opener since 2005. But the capricious winds in Abu Dhabi on
Friday and strict regulations this season made it a challenge to fly
fast and clean through the track.
Monday, 17 February 2014 18:29
Race Day – Saturday March 01, 2014
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. (local Abu Dhabi time)
Eastern Standard Time: 7:00 - 8:30 a.m.
Central Standard Time: 6:00 - 7:30 a.m.
A LIVE VIDEO STREAM will be available on race day. Click the ‘watch live stream’ button on right side of page below the countdown clock, and a new window will open. Rogers SportsNet and TVA will air the Abu Dhabi race on tape-delay - timing to be confirmed.
You can also watch the event on Red Bull TV via www.redbull.tv, thorugh its iOS and Android applications, and in slect markets on Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Smart TV devices.
Qualification and race results along with a full race recap will be posted on PeteMcLeodRacing.com following the race.
Monday, 17 February 2014 00:00
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship will make its return February 28 - March 1 with the first race of the 2014 season. After a 3 year world championship hiatus, the season kicks off in what has become the traditional opening round location - Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Pete and the team have already arrived in the City of Ras Al Khaimah, some 150km East of Abu Dhabi, for aircraft assembly and a week of testing ahead of the race.
Abu Dhabi is a special race for Pete as it is not only a fixture in the series but the site of Pete’s first race in 2009. This will be Pete’s 3rd time in Abu Dhabi, and he is excited to build on his success here in previous seasons.
“It’s great to be back in Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E for this race. I’m excited for race weekend but right now I’m focused on maximizing testing time in the warm weather – something we couldn’t do in Canada with the harsh winter.”
Pete, still the youngest in the field and set to turn 30 just a few days before the Abu Dhabi race, enters the 2014 season with a new aircraft, new team members, and facing significant rule and regulation changes.
With so many variables at play, Pete will have his work cut out for him to start the 2014 season. When asked to comment on the challenges ahead Pete said, “It’s not going to be easy. It will take some time, but my team will keep getting stronger, the airplane will keep getting faster, and I will keep flying harder. There is no better place to start than here in Abu Dhabi.”
With 12 teams vying for 2014 championship title, Abu Dhabi will no doubt be a hotbed of strategy and shakeups among the ranks for the 2014 season. It seems anything could happen here, but one thing is certain – everyone is anxiously awaiting the first call of “Smoke On!”
Be sure to become a fan of Pete on Facebook
and follow him on Twitter
for the latest news and behind the scenes access. Information regarding live streaming and broadcast times will be posted in the coming days – check back regularly for details!
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|FEB 28-MAR 1
Abu Dhabi - U.A.E.
Rovinj - Croatia
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
Gdynia - Poland
Ascot - Great Britain
Rotary Charity Airshow, ON
Dallas/Fort Worth - USA
Las Vegas - USA
Kunshan - China