Off to a Flying Start
He was fastest in all training sessions earlier in the week. He was fastest in Thursday’s qualifying. And (you guessed it), Britain’s Paul Bonhomme was the fastest pilot in the Super Eights, crushing Austria’s Hannes Arch by more than seven seconds to claim Friday’s opening round of the Red Bull Air World Series in Abu Dhabi.
Some 250,000 spectators sat through sweltering heat on the windswept course above the Arabian Gulf to watch the 43-year-old Bonhomme, in his new Edge 540, demoralize the other 11 pilots throughout training, qualifying and the race.
Arch earned second place, his highest finish ever after upsetting former teammate Mike Mangold in the semifinal. Mangold, the defending Air Race champion, won the third-place flyoff against Hungary’s Peter Besenyei.
Up next for the Red Bull Air Race World Series is the North American swing — May 3-4 in San Diego and May 31-June 1 in Detroit.