Paul Bonhomme of Britain won the first-ever Red Bull Air Race in New York on Sunday, June 20. Nigel Lamb took second place in a four-way battle between the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan while American Kirby Chambliss got his second straight podium with third place.
Bonhomme, the defending champion, prevailed in front of a crowd of 75,000 spectators watching from both sides of the Hudson River and a live U.S. television audience with one superb run after another through three pressure-packed rounds. Bonhomme had finished behind Arch for the last three races and was desperate to get back on top after the Team Abu Dhabi racer cut his lead in the championship to just one point. Arch pushed Bonhomme to his limits but saw his three-race winning streak shattered in dramatic fashion when he hit a pylon in the final 4 ending any hope of a podium finish.
Bonhomme stopped the clock at 1:10.01, the day’s fastest time on the 5.5-km track of 13 Air Gates set up on the Hudson River between the Statue of Liberty and New York’s skyline. Bonhomme had been the epitome of consistency with times of 1:10.09 in the Top 12 round and 1:10.07 in the Super 8 before lowering the mark again to 1:10.01 in the final. That was a full 2.05 seconds faster than Lamb and 2.08 faster than Chambliss. Arch was 5.34 back — hurt by the six-second penalty for hitting the pylon.
It was Bonhomme’s 12th straight podium — a record — and he now leads the championship with 53 points while Arch is second overall with 48 points. Team Breitling’s Nigel Lamb is third on 47 and Chambliss has 35.
The New York race was the fifth in the eight-race championship. The next race is slated for July 7-8 at the EuroSpeedway track in Lausitz near Berlin, Germany.
For more information: RedBullAirRace.com