The destination of the 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship title has yet to be decided. On the penultimate race weekend at Fort Worth (USA), British pilot Paul Bonhomme claimed his fourth victory of the campaign in front of 30,000 spectators. His main rival, Matt Hall, took second place to keep his hopes alive of taking the title. Austria’s Hannes Arch failed to make it past the first heat.
The first knock-out round involving all 14 pilots provided some first class entertainment for the fans at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Although title contender Matt Hall was beaten by reigning world champion Nigel Lamb, he still qualified as fastest loser for the final eight. Meanwhile, Hannes Arch was up against title contender Paul Bonhomme.
In this seventh race of the season, however, the Austrian was out of luck. In his one and only appearance on race day, Arch was hit with a two-second penalty for incorrect altitude. “An unnecessary mistake which was severely punished,” said the 48-year-old afterwards. He was all the more disappointed for having completed the circuit almost half a second faster than his opponent: “You have to live with these decisions. I’ve written off the season and will now take a short vacation to motivate myself for the last race and to get the maximum out of it.” Arch retains third place in the standings.
Bonhomme then went from strength to strength, putting in a flawless flight to claim his fourth podium of the season. Title rival Australian Matt Hall took the runner-up spot in Texas, a result that gives him hope of seizing the initiative on the final weekend. This is scheduled for 17th/18th October against the spectacular backdrop of Las Vegas.
Across the Big Pond
For the last two races of the 2015 championship, the pilots have had to travel across the “Big Pond”. The first stopover was in Fort Worth in Texas, while the second in mid-October will be in Las Vegas (Nevada), a distance of 1,700km. No easy task for official logistics partner DHL. Because overseas transport is a complex matter. Two Boeing 747 cargo planes flew two loads of equipment and racing planes weighing 90 and 100 tonnes respectively from Europe to America. They were unloaded by a 20-strong ground crew.
The necessary infrastructure for the fastest motorsport series in the world has to be erected and dismantled at each race venue. This includes the grid stand, the Race Club, the hangars, the heavy-duty cranes for the air gates, the electronic equipment and the television production studio.