10-Race Season Kicks Off Thursday In Abu Dhabi
The Red Bull Air Race World Series 2008 starts in Abu Dhabi on
April 10-11, with the first of 10 international races which will
see 12 of the world’s top pilots competing in what is
expected to be the most exciting season yet. After the closest
finish in sporting history last season, American Mike Mangold will
be back to defend his championship title against Brit Paul Bonhomme
in what has now become a truly global motorsport.
The United Arab Emirates city is the traditional start for the
Red Bull Air Race World Series, and for its fourth consecutive
race, a unique track will be set up over the turquoise waters of
the Arabian Gulf next to the famous Corniche stretch. As at all
races, spectators will enjoy amazing views of the action enabling
them to really appreciate the extraordinary speed, skill and
courage of these incredible sportsmen.
Racing just meters above the sea, the pilots will navigate 20
meter high inflatable pylons called ‘Air Gates’, flying
at speeds reaching 400 km/h and pulling up to 10 g.
This year’s opening race track will be different to
previous years. For the first time ever, two separate Chicanes will
be incorporated and to make it even more challenging, the pilots
will have to constantly adjust to the wind conditions in Abu Dhabi
which are notoriously unpredictable.
In 2007, four million spectators attended the 10 races held
worldwide and over 400 million watched the Red Bull Air Race World
Series on television.
After the drama of last season where the World Champion was only
decided at the final race, the 2008 pilots, including newcomer Glen
Dell from South Africa, have been working hard on their planes and
strategies in preparation for this year’s competition.
The Red Bull Air Race takes place in close partnership with the
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and under the patronage of HH Sheikh
Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The picturesque blue skies and dramatic
Abu Dhabi shoreline will provide a spectacular backdrop for the
first round of the international motor sports championship which
will be one of the Middle East’s most breathtaking events of
Qualifying takes place on Thursday, April 10, followed by Race
Day on Friday.