SOURCE: Red Bull Air Race

Red Bull Air Race

October 04, 2009 14:27 ET

Paul Bonhomme Crowned Red Bull Air Race World Champion

American Mike Mangold Retires & German Rookie Matthias Dolderer Takes First Podium at Final 2009 Race

BARCELONA, SPAIN--(Marketwire - October 4, 2009) - Britain's Paul Bonhomme won the 2009 Red Bull Air Race World Championship today with a thrilling victory in the final race of the season in Barcelona in front of a record crowd of 800,000 spectators, holding off a ferocious challenge from defending champion Hannes Arch of Austria. Bonhomme had finished a heartbreaking second in both 2007 and 2008 but got the elusive first title with a sensational performance under pressure to clinch his first title with 67 championship points to Arch's 60. Australia's Matt Hall took 3rd place overall, the best result ever for a rookie, with 36 points.

On a gorgeous day in Barcelona with temperatures around 77 degrees, Britain's Nigel Lamb got the first podium of an otherwise disappointing season with second place after a speedy performance in the final on the four mile track through a challenging 15-Air Gate obstacle course set up just feet above the surface of the Mediterranean. German rookie Matthias Dolderer treated the largest crowd of the season packed along the Front Maritim beaches to some fancy flying to take third place, his first podium. A total of 1.2 million spectators enjoyed the weekend's racing, the most exciting this season.

"Fantastic, thank you Barcelona," Bonhomme said after letting out a loud shout for joy when he heard the news he had won the title on his cockpit radio. He had watched his four-point lead melt to three on Saturday when Arch won the point for fastest Qualifying time. "I'm very happy. It's been a huge amount of pressure, but it's just a question of how you deal with it at the right time. I thought I'd better get my skates on and that worked."

Two other rookies ended the season on a high note. Japan's Yoshi Muroya had a career-best sixth place and Canada's Pete McLeod got 12th, his second-best result. But it was a disappointing race for Americans Kirby Chambliss (5th), Michael Goulian (11th) and Mike Mangold (14th). Spain's Alejandro Maclean was hoping to give the fans in his home country a strong showing but finished 10th.

After 6 years of competing in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, American Mike Mangold has announced he will move-on after the season's sixth and final race. Mike joined the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2004 and has twice won the world championship in 2005 and 2007. He has 10 race wins in his career, the 2nd most of any pilot. Mike was a pioneer of aircraft modifications which has become a major factor for winning in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. South African Glen Dell will also retire after two years of competing on the global circuit. The 2010 Red Bull Air Race pilot line-up will be announced later this month.

Now in its fourth season on Fox Sports Network (FSN), the 2009 Red Bull Air Race World Championship will air on Sunday evenings this fall. Each race will begin at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT in most markets. For a full list of FSN channels and air times, visit www.foxsports.com and enter a zip code in the "My TV Listings" box on the left side of the home page. Each FSN episode of the 2009 Red Bull Air Race as well as past season episodes will also be available on www.hulu.com/redbullairrace.

For high resolution photos, final standings and results, and b-roll please visit www.redbullairracenewsroom.com.