Defending champion Paul Bonhomme of Britain won the first Red Bull Air Race of the 2010 season in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, March 27, finishing just ahead of compatriot Nigel Lamb and Hungary’s Peter Besenyei.
Austria’s Hannes Arch finished a disappointing 11th after posting the fastest qualifying time on Friday. Arch, who had won the Abu Dhabi race last year and was the favorite going in after winning the one qualifying point on Friday, was disqualified in the Top 12 round for dangerous flying. Many other front-runners were also knocked out early on a day of upsets due to disqualifications or technical malfunctions.
Michael Goulian took a strong fourth place but the American’s day nevertheless ended in disappointment as well when he was unable to fly in the final due to technical problems. Canada’s Pete McLeod, a rookie last year, got a career-best fifth place. Australia’s Matt Hall was flying well and was poised for a spot on the podium but was also forced to retire ahead of the Super 8 round with a technical problem that dropped him to eighth place.
“It’s a great start to the new year,” said Bonhomme, who took 12 points and picked up his 12th career victory. Bonhomme’s winning time was 1:14.06. Lamb was 0.86 seconds behind and Besenyei was 7.12 behind.
The next stop of the eight-race season takes place in Perth, Australia, April 17-18.
For more information: RedBullAirRace.com.