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Photo: Courtsey of Red Bull
BRIT Paul Bonhomme got his 2008 Red Bull Air Race World Series season off to a flying start with a resounding victory against Hannes Arch of Austria in front of 400,000 spectators in Abu Dhabi.
11 APR 08: BONHOMME WINS!
Bonhomme, who writes a race diary exclusively for LOOP, was runner-up in the championship last season to American Mike Mangold by a heartbreaking fraction of a second, but got some sweet revenge in Abu Dhabi. He demoralised the other 11 pilots in the process with scintillating times throughout training and qualifying.
Arch got second place and Mike Mangold (USA) finished third after winning the consolation race against Peter Besenyei (HUN).
In sweltering temperatures and gutsing winds, Bonhomme was in a class by himself, recording the fastest times in all training sessions earlier in the week and dominating qualifying on Thursday. Bonhomme, in his new Edge 540, was also by far the fastest pilot in the "Super Eights" and crushed Hungary's Peter Besenyei in the semi-finals (by more than 6 seconds) before beating Arch in the final by 7.05 seconds.
Nicolas Ivanoff of France won the "Point One" competition for the four slowest pilots from qualifying and earned one point for the 2008 championship. Russia's Sergey Rakhmanin was 4.69 seconds behind Ivanoff in 1:12.02. Michael Goulian of the United States was a disappointing 11th while newcomer Glen Dell was 12th.
The Red Bull Air Race World Series will now move on to the next stop in San Diego (3-4 May) and Detroit before returning to Europe for races in Sweden, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Hungary, Spain and Portugal before the season finale in Perth, Australia.
1 Paul Bonhomme (GBR) Edge 540 9pt
2 Hannes Arch (AUT) Edge 540 8pt
3 Mike Mangold (USA) Edge 540 7pt
4 Peter Besenyei (HUN) Extra 300SR 6pt
5 Kirby Chambliss (USA) Edge 540 5pt
6 Alejandro Maclean (ESP) Edge 540 4pt
7 Steve Jones (GBR) Edge 540 3pt
8 Nigel Lamb (GBR) MX2 2pt
9 Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) Extra 300SR 1pt
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