Air Race Championship to take over Abu Dhabi Skies on February 8th & 9th
The Capital has been a hotbed of activities recently: All roads led to Abu Dhabi with a month-long Asian Football Cup and Pope Francis’ visit. And now, Abu Dhabi skies become the new action stations as the Red Bull Air Race World Championship season-opener returns for 12th year.
It will be an aerial treat for the residents on February 8-9 as world’s best race pilots will fly just metres above the ground through slalom course consisting of pylons at a speed of not less than 370km per hour. It will be a deadly combination of speed, precision and skills of the highest order as the pilots fight it out over the Corniche against the backdrop of Abu Dhabi skyline.
The charge will be led by defending world champion Martin Sonka, who is quite confident of a great show for the crowds.
“It’s always special to race in Abu Dhabi. It is one of the most beautiful venues in our race calendar. Being the kick-off race of the season makes it even more important. For us coming from frozen Europe, it is great to come to Abu Dhabi. After the winter break, we are hungry for racing, thrill and action,” Sonka said at the Press conference held at Al Bateen Airport hangar.
The Czech Republic pilot said there is ‘extra pressure’ on him, being the world champion.
“Hopefully I will manage to keep it smooth. Everyone would like to win here as it is the first race of the season. Anything could happen here.”
It is this element of uncertainty, adrenaline rush and high-octane race which has drawn over 50,000 residents to the Corniche last year.
Abu Dhabi Sports Council director of events and marketing Ahmed Al Qubaisi is hoping for a bigger turnout and said all preparations were done to host yet another international event.
“A special mention must go to our national companies, the Traffic Authority and the Traffic Police and the Police Department, which ensure these world-class events take place with the safety and security of the public as priorities.”
Red Bull Air Race general manager Erich Wolf is proud of the traditional opener being held in the UAE. “Abu Dhabi stages the Red Bull Air Race for the 12th time and this race marks our 91st World Championship race, which makes our relationship special.” There will be Master Class and Challenger Class with a total of 26 pilots representing 17 countries and six continents.
There will be free practice (9:00AM to 5:15PM) on February 7, qualifiers (11:30AM to 5.30PM) on February 8 and final race day (2:00PM to 5.30PM) on February 9. The race is free for everyone to watch on Corniche Street, but residents can book tickets on www.redbullairrace.com.