Over the weekend, the Red Bull Air Race sped across the skies of Putrajaya, Malaysia. This third course of the season, though beautiful, posed unique challenges to the racers. Putrajaya has an average temperature of 92°F in May. The heat, coupled with dense urban fauna and sprawling waterways, make for a uniquely humid environment. As the race approached, the question on everyone’s mind was how the Malaysian climate would affect the air racers finely tuned machines.
The Red Bull Air Race is the world’s fastest motorsport. All of the aircraft have been perfected right down to their top-of-the-line Hartzell “Claw” composite aerobatic propellers. If the weather had any impact the airplanes, however, it certainly did not affect the excitement surrounding the competition. The field was tight coming into Putrajaya, and expectations were high for an exhilarating race. The Hannes Arch, “Austrian Ace,” won the second race in Rovinj, Croatia. The first win of the 2014 Red Bull Air Race season went to Britain’s Paul Bonhomme, who put up a spectacular time in Abu Dhabi. Crowds lined Putrajaya’s man-made-lake-turned-race-track to see who would take the season’s third victory.
The competition definitely delivered. After the first round of head to head eliminations, Pete McLeod, Hannes Arch, Nigel Lamb, Matt Hall, Paul Bonhomme, Martin Sonka, Peter Besenyei and Matthias Dolderer emerged as Putrajaya’s Super 8. The next round of eliminations cut the field to just Lamb, Arch, Hall and McLeod. In a monumental technical display, Nigel Lamb defeated Hannes Arch by just over half a second. It was Lamb’s first win on in the Air Race circuit, after many near victories. Arch, to his credit, continues to lead the season in points. Check out the current standings here.