Tue, Oct 14, 2008
Showdown Between Arch, Bonhomme Will Decide Title
Sunny Perth in Western Australia will host the final showdown of
the Red Bull Air Race World Championship on November 1-2, where the
2008 title will be decided between Austria's Hannes Arch (shown
below) and Britain's Paul Bonhomme.
Over 300,000 people are expected to flock to the banks of
Perth's Swan River for the third year running to watch the eighth
and final race of this year's Championship. The Red Bull Air Race
runway will be set up at Langley Park, which was used as Perth's
official airport back in the 1920's. Its proximity to the Swan
River will give the pilots a fantastic view of the race track from
Australian Drew Searle, Aviation Expert at the Perth Red Bull
Air Race believes that some subtle changes to last year's track
design should make for interesting and unpredictable results.
"We're splitting the quadro into two knife-edge gates and
adjusting the positions of some of the Air Gates," said Searle.
"This should result in a track that's much more about pilot
judgement than just pure speed. I'm fully expecting the race to be
very exciting in Perth. It's going to be a very difficult, fast,
twisting and turning track which will require a refined race line.
At this time of year the weather is a big player and winds are
certain to affect the track. Taking all this into account, I reckon
once again there could be a very interesting set of faces on the
Last year, French pilot Nicolas Ivanoff stunned everyone with
his first ever win in Perth... but it was
American Mike Mangold who captured the glory
coming from two points behind Bonhomme to snatch the Championship
in the closest final in Red Bull Air Race history. Bonhomme seemed
to be on track through the first half of this season to make up for
last year's disappointment, leading the 2008 World Championship by
as many as six points at the half-way point, but he was overtaken
by the consistent performance of Arch who moved ahead of Bonhomme
at the last race in Porto.
Arch now has a strong 9-point lead with 54 points ahead of
Bonhomme (shown above) in second with 45 points and Chambliss in
third with 44 points. Arch just needs one point in the final race
in Perth to win the title. Bonhomme can still win the title if he
comes first in Perth, and Arch finishes with zero points.
For his part, Arch has worked hard to stomp out speculation that
it is in the bag. "For me the championship is absolutely not over
yet," he said. "There's still another race and I'll approach it
like the others. After Perth I'll see where I am."
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