SOURCE: Red Bull

May 12, 2007 22:37 ET

Top International Race Pilots Skirt Gigantic Buttes at the Red Bull Air Race World Series in Majestic Monument Valley

Hungary's Peter Besenyei Takes First Place at First U.S. Stop

MONUMENT VALLEY, UT -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 12, 2007 -- The world's newest form of high-performance motorsport racing touched down in Monument Valley, Utah today, marking the first U.S. stop in the series. The spectacular red mesas and towering buttes of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park were the stunning backdrop for the third of eleven stops on the Red Bull Air Race World Series 2007 tour. Hungarian race pilot, Peter Besenyei, took first place amongst thirteen of the globe's most skilled and experienced aerobatic geniuses.

In a neck-to-neck battle for the top honor, thirteen race pilots pushed speeds upwards of 250 mph through an aerial race track just under one mile long. After soaring past the competition in the semi-finals, Red Bull athlete Besenyei etched his name on the title with a final track completion time of 59.87 seconds.

"I missed out on the final in Rio de Janeiro, but today I was luckier," stated Besenyei after the race. "Step by step I went further and met Paul [Bonhomme] in a super final."

In order for Besenyei to take the top spot on the podium, he had to navigate his lightweight aircraft through inflatable pylons or "air gates" on pivotal positions around the track. In addition to the air gates, pilots had to steer the track in the fastest possible time while incurring as few penalties as possible. Some of the awe-inspiring maneuvers included vertical rolls and a series of tight loops and spins inverted at key points in the race.

The Monument Valley track is one of two stops raced entirely above ground in the 2007 Red Bull Air Race World Series. The picturesque setting challenged pilots with uneven terrain and environmental obstacles not common on most air race tracks including an unusually high elevation of 7,200 feet given that all other World Series stops take place at sea level.

In the quarter finals, British race pilot Steve Jones tore through one of the pylons and hit one of the track video cameras housed remotely in the air gate, causing his plane to lose part of one of the wheel coverings. Spectators gasped as Jones' propeller zinged just feet above their heads. Luckily, the pylons are specially designed with safety in mind so that pilots can avoid a pylon crash without injury to them or their planes.

Besenyei's first-place win puts him second in point standings, only slightly behind Britain's Paul Bonhomme and the United States' Mike Mangold.

Spectators from around the world lined up along the remote Navajo Tribal Park Visitor Center cliffs to get a first-hand view of the racing and to cheer on their favorite race pilots.

The next and final U.S. stop on the 2007 Red Bull Air Race World Series tour is in San Diego, Calif., on Saturday, September 22.

For complete race results, please visit www.redbullairrace.com or contact Maddy Stephens at 210-414-1904/maddy.stephens@us.redbull.com or Luke Seile at 310-460-5712/luke.seile@us.redbull.com. For complimentary images cleared for media use, please visit www.redbull-photofiles.com.

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