SOURCE: Red Bull

Red Bull

October 18, 2015 21:56 ET

Great Britain's Paul Bonhomme Makes History by Winning His Third Red Bull Air Race World Championship

Australia's Matt Hall Wins the Eighth and Final Race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Is Unable to Best Bonhomme in Season Final Standings

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwired - Oct 18, 2015) - Between bouts of torrential rain, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship held its eighth and final race of the 2015 season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. More than 20,000 fans braved the weather to watch Great Britain's Paul Bonhomme, the most decorated pilot in Red Bull Air Race history, rewrite the record books as he claimed an unprecedented third World Championship. Despite winning the Las Vegas race, Matt Hall of Australia was unable to unseat Bonhomme in the championship points, finishing the 2015 season in second place. Austria's Hannes Arch rounded out the championship podium in third.

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features 14 of the world's best race pilots in a motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Pilots navigate the fastest, most agile and lightweight race planes through a low-level aerial track made up of air-filled pylons 80 feet high at speeds of up to 230 mph, all while enduring forces of up to 10Gs. The aim is to finish in the fastest time, incurring as few penalties as possible.

Fears of adverse weather affecting the racing outcome subsided as Mother Nature peeled back the curtains of rain long enough to allow the main competition to move forward as planned. All eyes were on two men, Bonhomme and Hall, with Hall trailing in championship points, and needing to place well ahead of the Englishman to secure victory. Although Bonhomme only needed to finish sixth place or better to win the title, the pressure was on heading into the Round of 8 as he was suddenly forced to return to the race airport due to technical problems. The race was on to fix the plane, which had incurred water damage to the wing and air speed equipment during the previous round. After an expedited repair by his race team, Bonhomme returned to the sky to beat Arch and advance to the Final 4, which automatically secured the World Championship.

"I think the halfway point (Ascot) was interesting because I knew it was going to be hard work. We seem historically to come out of the blocks well, hence the two wins at the beginning of the season, so that was pleasing, but then it was pretty obvious that everyone else was catching up," said Bonhomme. "Up until three o'clock this afternoon I didn't know what was going to happen. It was the toughest World Championship I've ever had. It was hard work."

"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."

American Kirby Chambliss was eliminated in the Round of 12, while fellow countryman Michael Goulian was able to advance to the Round of 8 before falling victim to Saturday's fastest qualifier, Japan's Yoshihide Muroya. Goulian and Chambliss finished the overall season in tenth and eleventh place, respectively.

The Las Vegas Race was not only the end of the 2015 season, but was also the final race for Hungarian pilot Peter Besenyei. One of the most successful pilots in the history of the Red Bull Air Race with eight career victories, Besenyei announced on Sunday that he was retiring from the sport he helped develop in 2003. Besenyei, 59, won the title in the inaugural season in 2003 and has been a driving force behind its growth through his 10 seasons of racing. Las Vegas marked the 66th race in his Red Bull Air Race career.

Complete Results Las Vegas, Nevada:
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 World Championship Standings:
1. Bonhomme (GBR) 76 points, 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)

The eighth season kicked off in February with an opener in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and made stops in Chiba, Japan; Rovinj, Croatia; Budapest, Hungary; Ascot, United Kingdom; Spielberg, Austria; Fort Worth, Texas and Las Vegas, Nevada.

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