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Red Bull Air Race Returns To Brazil

Jim Douglas

May 5, 2010 - The Red Bull Air Race World Championship returns to Brazil for the third stop of the eight-race 2010 season on May 8/9 in front of what promises to be another record-breaking crowd in Rio de Janeiro after one million spectators watched the first South American race here in 2007. Defending champion Paul Bonhomme of Britain is clinging to a slim lead with nine rival pilots all within range of overtaking him in Rio. 

Bonhomme, who leads the championship with 22 points from the first two races in Abu Dhabi and Perth, has fond memories of Rio, the first of three races he won in 2007 in what became his breakout year. But Rio is also a special location for Austria’s Hannes Arch. He got what was then a stunning fourth place in Rio in 2007, the best result of his rookie season.


All 15 pilots are looking forward to the return to South America to race on one of the most challenging tracks this year in a city abuzz with preparations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

“Rio’s fantastic and the Brazilians are a great bunch,” said Bonhomme, who has picked up 10 of his 12 career victories since the first Rio race. “They like a bit a live sport so it’s going to be fun. It should be a really exciting track this year.” 

Bonhomme, who also remembers a million fans crowding around the podium after the 2007 Rio race, wants to get back on top after taking third in Perth. The British ace is still four points ahead of compatriot Nigel Lamb (18 points) in the championship and eight ahead of Arch, Hall and Canada’s Pete McLeod, who are all on 14. With a maximum of 13 points up for grabs in Rio, Hungary’s Peter Besenyei (11), American Kirby Chambliss (10), Germany’s Matthias Dolderer (10) along with American Michael Goulian (9) and France’s Nicolas Ivanoff (9) could all in theory also overtake Bonhomme in Rio. 

Arch, who jumped from 11th to 3rd overall with his win in Perth, demonstrated how quickly the tables can be turned in a field packed with the world’s top pilots and more balance than ever before in the six-year history of the championship. The 2008 world champion admits to being a great fan of the South American zest for life. “I’ve got great memories of the race in Rio in my rookie year,” said Arch. “I love the way of life in South America, their emotions and their love of life.” 


Adilson Kindlemann, from Curibita, Brazil, is the first South American pilot to be selected to compete in the championship. However, due to an accident during a training session at the last race in Perth, Australia, he will be unable to race in Rio. Following an assessment by the Sporting Medical Director of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship Dr. Helmut Haunstein, the Red Bull Air Race Committee has decided to reinstate Team Kindlemann for the European races. It will take approximately 3 months for a full return to the competition as there are several prerequisites that need to be fulfilled including training in a new race plane as well as additional requirements from the Sporting Medical Director following the accident in Perth. 

The race in Rio has been switched to the Flamengo beach this time to accommodate what is expected to be an even larger crowd. “The first time I saw the Red Bull Air Race in Rio I thought ‘this is fantastic’,” said Kindlemann. “I’d never seen anything like it and it was just amazing, a million people watching such great flying. Brazilians love speed, they love airplanes and they love Formula One. The whole country is excited about the race. I’m sure this year’s crowd will be even larger than the last time around.”

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