Hannes Arch Says Win Is "An Amazing Feeling"
Austrian ace Hannes Arch won the Red Bull Air Race in Budapest
Wednesday, claiming his first-ever victory in only his second
season. A contender in other races this season, the win leaves Arch
in second place in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship with
three more races to go.
"It is just overwhelming, an amazing feeling,” said an
elated Arch, who has had a stellar rise from rookie last year to
one of this year's championship contenders. "I couldn't believe it.
You have to stay focused right until the very end and now I am just
really happy." Arch also had the fastest time of the day with
1:03.34 in the semi-finals.
Britain's Steve Jones was second, while compatriot Paul
Bonhomme, the current leader, was third after uncharacteristically
making an error in the semi-finals.
Some 600,000 spectators lined the banks of the River Danube on
Wednesday, a Hungarian national holiday, to watch the race under
clear blue sunny skies.
The race in Budapest, the sixth of the season, was full of
surprises. Mike Mangold finished fourth overall while local hero
Peter Besenyei finished fifth, despite a last-minute operation to
install a new engine in an effort to increase his speed.
The biggest blow was dealt to 2006 World Champion, American
Kirby Chambliss, who in a dramatic reversal of fortune failed to
qualify for the Super Eights. He finished last in the Point One
competition after he hit one of the pylons and was penalized for
Incorrect Level Flying... incurring a total of 13 penalty seconds.
That capped off a disastrous week for the American and puts his
hopes of winning the championship this year in jeopardy.
Bonhomme also put on a brave face after picking up a
three-second penalty for Incorrect Knife Flying, finishing third
overall. "I am annoyed that the fastest time that I posted was in
the last round when I was competing for third place and not
before," said Bonhomme. "I also made a mistake earlier on that was
"It has been a tight competition all summer but I am hoping that
this will now heap some pressure on Hannes," he said. "But I have
to say that he is flying beautifully at the moment."
After Budapest, Bonhomme leads the World Championship with 45
points while Arch is second followed by Chambliss. The next race is
in Porto, Portugal on September 6-7, followed by two more races in
Spain and Australia.