Hannes Arch triumphs in Lausitz but falls short of title Hannes Arch triumphs in Lausitz but falls short of title © Getty Images for Red Bull Air Race

After Paul Bonhomme took a stunning second consecutive Red Bull Air Race World Championship and Hannes Arch won in Lausitz, we hear what all the pilots had to say…

Paul Bonhomme (2010 winner)
“The key thing is that we won back-to-back championships, that’s what I’m going to be taking away. I’ve been saying all year I’ve been relaxed and had stayed that way right up to this race. But I knew this race could make or break the whole championship. The day didn’t go exactly as I planned but I’m very pleased about the whole year. We’re a motor racing sport and we worked beautifully together. I hope that when the season fires up again we have a lot more venues like this and that we indeed come back here again as well.”

Race Day, Lausitz

Hannes Arch (1st) “I knew my chance was quite small to win the championship and to expect Paul to make a big mistake, that would have been a bit too much to ask for. I tried to take my chance and I’m quite happy. I completely screwed up Qualifying and it was hard to be motivated. It means a lot to win here in Lausitz as it’s the last race for quite a while. To win in this year’s home race, means a lot for my fans who came here and my team. I knew my plane was fast and I had the perfect crew behind me. I’m happy I got things together.”

Paul Bonhomme (2nd) “Qualifying was very special although rest of the day didn’t quite go as planned. Even after I knew I’d won the championship the professional racer in me still wanted to win the race. Subconsciously I probably did relax a bit too much but I didn’t want to make a fool of myself.My sympathies to Nigel Lamb for getting a flat tyre. It’s been a superb atmosphere here and is the right environment for us as a motorsport. It’s been great fun.”

Matt Hall (3rd) “It wasn’t one of my objectives to get on the podium here but rather it was to just have three smooth and fast flights. An internal issue in Windsor for me, where I had my incident was that I was targeting results. After an in depth review, I just wanted to fly super smooth and I achieved that. It’s absolutely fantastic here as a race location and I do believe this is the future. The result is just a bonus.”

Nigel Lamb (4th) “This wasn’t what I was aiming for and I really thought this was a race I could win especially as I got to the Final. I’d been holding back in the 270 turns all day and I was just going to go for it. I might have hit a pylon but I’d rather have given it a go and come 4th than not even to get airborne. It’s something that hasn’t ever happened in 35 years of flying. The wheelpan takes ages to remove and the tyre a good 20 minutes to change… it was history. I’m disappointed but philiosophical. I’m very happy with my season but for everyone apart from the winner of each race there is always a change in strategy to look at. My aeroplane is going very well and I’m definitely getting more out of it.”

Nicolas Ivanoff (5th) “I was good in the turns today but lost speed when I was flying straight. This track had lots of turns so it was good for me. Today I have no regrets but it was a strange season. I expected a bit more from myself so it’s not so good. I am really proud to be part of this adventure from the first year and we’ve shown that we can do something really great. We must continue in the future.”

Kirby Chambliss (6th) “I tried to get everything I could out there today and it was pretty consistent all day. I tried a little something different in the hope that it would give me that extra second back on the last round but I think it may have cost me time. I’m disappointed I didn’t win but we know we have a 6th place airplane and that’s where we ended up. We’ve been able to capitalise on guys making mistakes in the last couple of races but they just weren’t making them today. There have been a lot of ups and downs this season for sure. We’ve had a couple of podium finishes but we’ve struggled with technically with the engine. We’ve been glad to be here and it’s been a great venue. We’ll be back to fly like hell in 2012.”

Matthias Dolderer (7th) “It’s amazing to fly with the home crowd but it didn’t work out how I wanted. I was expecting a little bit more and I had a good fight in there. It was a great final of 2010. I am a little bit disappointed but I leave with an absolutely great feeling. This weekend was just amazing with the fans and the stadium. It was incredible, stunning. This is the future of our motorsport and to get the opportunity to race here is just amazing. The crowd is definitely a positive push and the plane is feeling really well adjusted. There are several things I would change looking back. In my second season I have definitely put myself under more pressure.”

Pete McLeod (8th) “I feel great and I raced real well today. I’m pleased to end the season on this note. It was a close penalty on the last run and it was a real strong net time – on both runs actually. I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll be wishing there was a next race. It’s been a great season overall and the team has worked really hard. I think I’m able to run in the 5th or 6th position and the airplane has the potential. I wasn’t going to win a world championship this year but I felt I got everything I wanted from this season. I’m going to stay ready and strategise for 2012.”

Peter Besenyei (9th) “Without the penalties that was my best time this week. I still don’t know why I got the penalties and I really didn’t feel that I flew incorrectly. I did my best and I enjoy every minute of racing. I’m absolutely proud of the achievement of the Red Bull Air Race and I really hope it will come back to an even higher level in 2012.”

Alejandro Maclean (10th) “I generally had a bad week and didn’t train well. Today I feel great but I was just catching up. The time was pretty good today but just not enough. The smoke failed and there is nothing I can do about that; it’s a mechanical fault. I really did the best I could and that’s good enough. This season has been very disappointing for me and I had to fight with a lot of stuff in all areas, not just with the plane, the team and in other areas. With all that pressure and extra stress I still think I did my best but yes, pretty frustrated because I didn’t perform well enough. The winglets definitely helped the plane and it is performing well. I would blame the lack of results this season on me.”

Martin Sonka (11th) “I think I gave it everything I could and I can say I flew almost exactly as I wanted. I flew two clean runs and that was the main goal and unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the Super 8. We’re really happy to take another championship point so that is great. This year has been absolutely amazing for the whole team with a lot of beautiful locations. We’ve really enjoyed it and we’re looking forward to continuing in the future. It’s a different kind flying but definitely the most challenging so far in my career. It’s an amazing sport and it’s great to fly with all the other pilots here.”

Yoshi Muroya (12th) “My time on Q2 was not enough for the Super 8 so I made a tighter track in the Top 12 to gain 1.5 seconds but it didn’t work. I hit the pylon and lost concentration a little bit and got looser in the track. My flying is getting better and better but I still need more track time. We’ll catch up later and then be able to fly tighter lines in the track.” 

Michael Goulian (13th) “Today I was basically just a passenger as I’ve been fighting the flu all week with a head cold. When I was flying everything happened in slow motion and my head was in the clouds. I made mistakes I just wouldn’t normally make, like turning in the start gate. You try your best with what you can do but today my fitness just wasn’t there. I don’t know how many more flights I would have been able to do. I might have managed the Top 12 and had zero energy after being sick for five days.”

Sergey Rakhmanin (14th) “It was my best flight in this track and I was very satisfied until the Race Director said I had six seconds in penalties. I was very shocked actually and disappointed. I still feel I had a good psychological set-up and was in a good mood and flying nice trajectories.”

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