Red Bull Air Race World Championship

18 Oct 2015

Red Bull Air Race 2015: Bonhomme wins Championship for third time

Paul Bonhomme was crowned the 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Champion on Sunday after finishing a close second place in the final race of the season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway behind Matt Hall, staving off a thrilling challenge from the hard-charging Australian.

Germany’s Matthias Dolderer took a strong third to win his second podium of the season. Around 20,000 spectators followed the racing action over the weekend.

It was Bonhomme’s third championship, in his 10th season after the British ace won the title 2009 and 2010. Bonhomme, who had to overcome technical problems just before the final race, ended up with 76 world championship points, just five ahead of Hall on 71 with Austria’s Hannes Arch third overall with 34 points.

It’s amazing, just amazing,” said a sweat-drenched Bonhomme, who had four wins and seven podiums in the eight races this season and scored a record-breaking 76 championship points.

“What happened today was a million miles away from what I had imagined would happen. All kind of things happened that I didn’t expect. But as a team, we sorted it out and here we are. It was the toughest World Championship I’ve ever had. It was hard work.”

Bonhomme, the sport’s most successful pilot with 19 career wins in 66 races, needed to finish at least sixth place to win the title. But the pressure was on just before flying into the track in a difficult head-to-head Round of 8 battle against Arch. Bonhomme was suddenly forced to return to the race airport due to technical problems that could have cost him the championship if he could not fly against Arch.

Bonhomme had earlier got caught in a sudden downpour of rain in the previous Round of 14 that had done more damage to his wing and technical equipment than first thought. But his crew quickly repaired the air and ground speed equipment and Bonhomme returned to the sky to beat Arch and advance to the final, where he was second behind Hall.

“The conditions were shocking,” said Hall, of the ominous rain clouds in the desert area around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “There was a lot of pressure on Paul and he did what he had to do – so congratulations. It’s been an amazing year.”

Hungary’s Peter Besenyei, one of the most successful pilots in the history of the race with eight career victories, announced that he was retiring from the sport he helped create in 2003. Besenyei, 59, won the title in the inaugural season in 2003.

RESULTS, LAS VEGAS: 1. Matt Hall (AUS), 2. Paul Bonhomme (GBR), 3. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 4. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 5. Hannes Arch (AUT), 6. Michael Goulian (USA), 7. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 8. Martin Sonka (CZE), 9. Juan Velarde (ESP), 10. Nigel Lamb (GBR),  11. Pete McLeod (CAN), 12. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 13. Peter Besenyei (HUN), 14. François Le Vot (FRA)

FINAL 2015 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1. Bonhomme (GBR) 76 point, 2. Hall (AUS) 71, 3. Arch (AUT) 34, 4. Sonka (CZE) 29, 5. Dolderer (GER) 26, 6. Muroya (JPN) 23, 7. Lamb (GBR) 20, 8. McLeod (CAN) 19, 9. Ivanoff (FRA) 15, 10. Goulian (USA) 13, 11. Chambliss (USA) 9, 12. Besenyei (HUN) 8, 13. Velarde (ESP), 14. Le Vot (FRA)


(Text & pictures: www.redbullairrace.com)

EVENT NAME PLACE DATE  
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) 13 Feb to 14 Feb 2015 Information
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Chibe (Japan) 15 May to 16 May 2015 Information
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Rovinj (Croatia) 30 May to 31 May 2015 Information
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Budapest (Hungary) 04 Jul to 05 Jul 2015 Information
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Ascot (United Kingdom) 15 Aug to 16 Aug 2015 Information
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Spielberg (Austria) 05 Sep to 06 Sep 2015 Information
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Fort Worth, Texas (USA) 26 Sep to 27 Sep 2015 Information
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Las Vegas (USA) 17 Oct to 18 Sep 2015 Information

FAI and Red Bull Air Race

FAI and Red Bull Air Race World Championship signed an agreement including the provision of FAI medals especially designed for the Red Bull Air Race, the inclusion of all races in the FAI Events Calendar, and the official approval by the FAI of the race Rules & Regulations. Furthermore, the FAI provides a delegate who attends all events to supervise safety aspects.