From Japan to Croatia: Emotional victory for Hannes Arch

The organisers of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship successfully coped with the difficult task of getting set up for the third race weekend of the 2015 campaign in Rovinj. They had just two weeks to transport the planes and all the associated material from Chiba in Japan to Croatia. With this aspect expertly taken care of by Logistics Partner DHL, it was now the pilots’ turn to excel on a weekend characterised by difficult wind conditions, numerous pylon hits and an altogether challenging course.

The weekend culminated with a return to the top rung of the podium for last year’s winner of the same fixture, Hannes Arch. The Austrian put in a sequence of error-free flights to qualify for the Final of the Best 4 and celebrated a first victory of 2015 after a hitherto disappointing campaign. His fan club had made the relatively short journey across the Croatian border to support Arch in Rovinj, which seems to be an auspicious venue for him.

The Austrian fans come to Croatia in huge numbers, and my family are there too, which provides additional motivation

“I tried to concentrate exclusively on myself, not to think about the others and to fly my own race line,” said an emotional Arch, the tears welling up in his eyes. “The Austrian fans come to Croatia in huge numbers, and my family are there too, which provides additional motivation. This victory counts for a lot. Today has been a very special day for me.” As a result of this victory, Arch has shot up from seventh to third place in the championship table. Australia’s Matt Hall and Paul Bonhomme are level on points (25) at the top of the standings. 

Exciting races on the way to the final

By far the most exciting duel in the Round of 14 was the one between Hall and defending champion Nigel Lamb. As so often in the past, the British pilot managed to compensate for mediocre form in free practice and a botched qualifying run with a top performance in race conditions, prevailing by a wafer-thin margin of eleven hundredths of a second. These two experienced pilots treated the crowd to air racing at its best.
 
In front of the thousands of spectators massed on the Adriatic coast, one of the 14 pilots looked to be in a class of his own: on the way to the Final of the Best 4, Bonhomme first disposed of Nicolas Ivanoff and in the duel of the day then seemed to have outclassed Hall. But flying at the absolute limit, he made an error of judgement and was disqualified for having exceeded the permissible G-force, thus bringing his trophy challenge to a premature end.

From Japan to Rovinj via Graz

After the first ever Red Bull Air Race in Japan, the equipment made a stopover in the Austrian city of Graz. Two Boeing 747 jumbo jets carrying 90 to 100 tonnes respectively had transported the equipment and the race aircraft from the Land of the Rising Sun back to Europe.

Tightly organised logistics are therefore essential to ensure that this freight arrives not only safely on site but in accordance with the racing calendar

The logistics behind the scenes is enormous. The racing aircraft themselves and the extensive equipment used by the teams as well as by the organisers for the race infrastructure have to be transported between the eight host cities in seven countries throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Tightly organised logistics are therefore essential to ensure that this freight arrives not only safely on site but in accordance with the racing calendar. DHL as Logistics Partner of the Red Bull Air Race has the responsibility for transporting the planes and the material from race to race.
 
The necessary infrastructure for the fastest motorsport series in the world is erected and dismantled at every venue on the itinerary: the grid stand, the Race Club, the hangars, the cranes for the air gates, the electronic equipment and the studio for television coverage. The entire infrastructure takes several days to assemble.