Red Bull Air Race celebrated its Diamond Anniversary with World Championship kick-off over the Arabian Gulf in Abu Dhabi. With 14 of the planet’s best pilots competing for their first win of the season, it was bound to be a tense and exciting affair.
Abu Dhabi (UAE) – Abu Dhabi played host to the 2017 Red Bull Air Race season opener for the tenth time in a row, in what turned out to be as exciting a race as the capital had ever seen. The decade-defining race was brought to the UAE in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which hosted a field of 14 of the world’s most competitive pilots, going head-to-head over the pristine setting of the tranquil Arabian Gulf.
With the new technology-laden raceplanes making their season debut, the crowd was treated to speeds of up to 370kph and forces of up to 10G, as the teams from five continents contested their first win of what is sure to be an exciting diamond jubilee season,, a landmark for this relatively new discipline among top-level motorsports.
Matthias Dolderer of Germany will look to continue where he left off when he claimed the 2016 title with dominant consistency. But across nine seasons so far, only one pilot (Great Britain’s Paul Bonhomme, who is now a Red Bull Air Race commentator) has ever managed to capture two crowns consecutively. Dolderer’s 13 powerful opponents will be aiming to derail his charge and build early-season momentum of their own.
“Abu Dhabi’s 10-year partnership with the Red Bull Air Race is one of the strongest in our sports portfolio. The relationship reinforces our vision to align with the world’s best sports organisations and deliver high-quality media content to an international audience, as well as providing a major economic boost to the capital city. The sight of the Red Bull Air Race planes above Abu Dhabi’s stunning Corniche backdrop is an annual calendar highlight ; I urge everyone to come and join us this weekend for one of sport’s great spectacles.” Commented HE Arif Al Awani general secretary
Among the unpredictable factors in what promises to be a gripping season are two new Master Class pilots – Cristian Bolton of Chile and Mika Brageot of France – who together combine for more applicable experience than any previous newcomers thanks to training in the Challenger Cup and the Master Mentoring Program. Meanwhile, the Challenger Class, with three new members in 2017 including the first Red Bull Air Race pilot from China, will also be in action.
“The teams have been arriving with exceptional focus and determination, and the pilots are eager to add their names to the 10-year legacy here by winning this 75th World Championship race,” commented Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race GmbH. “Abu Dhabi is closely associated with the best in motorsport, so you can be sure that the racing will set a high standard for the season.”
See it live: Tickets for the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi are on sale now. For all the latest news and information, visit www.redbullairrace.com.