Arch wins Poland

Austrian pilot opens Red Bull lead

July 28, 2014

Austria’s Hannes Arch navigated the Red Bull Air Race course in Gdynia, Poland in front of 130,000 spectators. Sebastian Marko photo courtesy of Red Bull.

Hannes Arch flew to a 13-point lead in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship with a victory July 27 in Gdynia, Poland. Red Bull reported a crowd of 130,000 spectators watched Arch capture his third straight European series race victory, and the first race held in Poland.

Arch shared the podium with Nigel Lamb and Matt Hall. Kirby Chambliss was the top American pilot in Gdynia, finishing fourth, and Michael Goulian (who was named an “AOPA Ambassador” earlier this month) flew against Lamb in the first round and was unable to advance.

The series heads next to England, followed by the first of two American stops in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 6 and 7.

Arch was not the fastest qualifier, but found a new line through the 270-degree “Marine Wall” turn that put him across the finish line in 1:09.895, more than a full second faster than Lamb and Hall, who finished 0.232 seconds apart. Austria’s Hannes Arch widened his Red Bull Air Race World Championship lead to 13 points with a victory in Poland July 27. Sebastian Marko photo courtesy of Red Bull.

Arch, in a Red Bull news release, said he would just as soon not be in the championship lead.

“I prefer to be the hunter than the hunted,” said Arch. “Being the hunter suits my style better. But I guess I’m going to have to get used to being the one that everyone else is hunting now.”

The victory was Arch’s second in a season that has also included two second-place finishes in the first four races. Paul Bonhomme, who finished fifth and remains second in the championship standings, has 29 points to Arch’s 42 going into his own home race in Great Britain in August. Bonhomme was penalized for flying too high through one of the 82-foot (25-meter) tall inflatable gates that define the course.

“From where I was sitting it looked alright to me,” Bonhomme said in a Red Bull release, adding it was “bleeding obvious” that the fifth place in Gdynia would damage his championship hopes. “If it was a ‘benefit of a doubt’ (judgment) call, then I’ll be pretty upset.”

U.S. pilot Kirby Chambliss weaves through the pylons at the Red Bull Air Race in Gdynia, Poland. Joerg Mitter photo courtesy of Red Bull.
Jim Moore

Jim Moore | Online Associate Editor, AOPA

AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.