Britain’s Paul Bonhomme won the Red Bull Air Race in Porto, Portugal, last weekend in front of a record-breaking crowd of 720,000 to widen his lead to 4 points over defending champion Hannes Arch of Austria.
Bonhomme stopped the clock in 1:09.23 on his final run through the 6.6-km course set up through 17 air gates on the Douro River in the coastal Portuguese city to beat Arch by 0.94 seconds. It was the second 2009 win for Bonhomme, who now has 55 championship points compared to 51 for Arch.
The British ace also became the first pilot to win more than one race this year but quickly warned the championship was far from over – he saw it slip out of his hands in the final race of 2007 and 2008. “I’ve been in this situation before,” he said. “Four points is not a lot when there are 13 points available to the winner. It will be ‘all-guns-blazing’ for Barcelona.”
Porto was a disappointing race for Americans Kirby Chambliss and Michael Goulian. Chambliss was forced to retire with engine problems despite posting the fastest time of the day in the Top 12, placing him 8th. Goulian, who won the first race of his career in Budapest last time out, fell to 9th place. Mangold, the 2007 champion having a remarkably consistent year, salvaged some U.S. pride by taking 5th place, which leaves him 4th overall.
The 2009 Red Bull Air Race World Champion will be decided at the season finale in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 3-4.
For more information: RedBullAirRace.com.