The final stop for the 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship sizzled with excitement and adrenaline as stormy skies and high winds set the scene for race day at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Top contenders Paul Bonhomme and Matt Hall had no problem flying their way from the Round of 14 into the Round of 8, as their speed could not be beat. Being the fastest loser in the Round of 14 put Michael Goulian in the Round of 8, where he was pitted against the speed of Yoshihide Muroya. Goulian flew perfectly, but Yoshihide finished his run with one of the fastest times of the day – leaving him in 6th place. “The race in Las Vegas may have been one of the most challenging ones for strategizing and flying our best plan. The weather pattern was really sketchy throughout the entire session with dramatic wind changes and the rain. We had our new engine dialed in, and our times improved the entire week, which was really great. All in all, I think we wrapped up the season on a high note with this strong 6th place finish!” commented Goulian. His final standing for the 2015 season was 10th place.
Bonhomme and Hall were also placed against tough competition in the Round of 8. Hall passed to the Final 4 when Martin Sonka clipped a pylon, and Bonhomme’s biggest challenge of the day was facing Hannes Arch. Arch returned to this race with clean, fast runs, but even with a technical issue just before racing, Bonhomme flew another perfect run in the Round of 8. This secured him with enough points to win the World Championship title right then and there, but the race was not over. Hall, Muroya and Matthias Dolderer gave their all in the Final 4, battling to out race Bonhomme to gain higher rankings in the final standings.
All pilots flew cleanly through the gates, so their speed determined the standings. Hall was the fastest of them all with a track record run of 48.604, claiming victory at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bonhomme was not far behind with a time of 48.968, placing second. Bonhomme is now the Red Bull Air Race World Championship’s most successful Master Class pilot, being the first to claim a third title. Though, he ended the season just five points ahead of Hall. This very close finish now gives way to even greater competition for 2016.
Las Vegas Race Results:
- Matt Hall (AUS)
- Paul Bonhomme (GBR)
- Matthias Dolderer (GER)
- Yoshihide Muroya (JPN)
- Hannes Arch (AUT)
- Michael Goulian (USA)
- Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA)
- Martin Sonka (CZE)
For Team 99, 2015 was a building year. “It’s really exciting times for Team 99, and we’re already looking forward to next year! Our plane is being modified for 2016, and we have an extensive plan to make our plane fast. First up, winglets!” finished Goulian.
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