- Red Bull Air Race in France for first time
- Matt Hall takes emotional win on Côte d’Azur
- Logistical challenge: From Abu Dhabi to Japan via Cannes
Another place has now been ticked off on the Red Bull Air Race map. A race weekend has just taken place for the first time in France, or to be more precise, in the film festival city of Cannes in a magnificent setting on the Côte d’Azur. France is the 24th country to host the Red Bull Air Race since 2003 and Cannes the 40th location.
From Abu Dhabi to France
As official logistics partner, it was DHL’s job to ensure that all the equipment needed for the racing series, including aircraft, was transported from Abu Dhabi, where the first race of the season took place at the beginning of February, to Cannes. Most of the race infrastructure was packed in about 40 containers and shipped by sea from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. However, certain parts went by air-freight.
But preparations in Cannes started much earlier, as Red Bull Air Race managers began discussions with representatives from Cannes a good twelve months before the actual race. While a Feasibility Report was developed initially, setting out strengths and possible weaknesses, details such as planning the TV production were to become the main focus later on.
Since we are producing an event in the air, we are adding a third dimension.Mike Hoehsl
“There’s so much time and effort involved,” said Mike Hoehsl, Head of Event Production for the Red Bull Air Race. “That’s what makes it so unique in every sense of the word.”
One major advantage in Cannes is that the city is used to hosting big international events. Nevertheless, the Red Bull Air Race presented a very special challenge. “Since we are producing an event in the air, we are adding a third dimension. Also, we produce a high-quality TV product that is broadcast around the world live, adding another layer to the production,” said Hoehsl.
Matt Hall takes emotional win
The pylons that mark the racetrack were inflated for the first time the day before the start of the race weekend, and the spectacular flight action could finally get underway. Kirby Chambliss made the best start to the weekend on the Côte d’Azur. The American posted the DHL Fastest Lap in qualifying on Saturday and now jointly heads the overall standings along with Matthias Dolderer, who qualified fastest in Abu Dhabi.
Chambliss eventually finished in P12, while Matt Hall won Sunday’s race. This was a particularly emotional victory for Australian pilot, Hall, because it has been quite a while since his last win back in 2016. “It’s terrific and a big load off my shoulders. A year without a win is tough, but my team made it possible to stage a comeback, so it’s a very emotional moment for me,” said a delighted Hall.
Michael Goulian on 24 points leads the overall standings from Hall (21) and Japan’s Yoshihide Muroya (19) after two out of this season’s eight races.
From France to Japan
The Red Bull Air Race will head from France to Japan in the Far East for the third round of the season. The race weekend at Chiba is next up on the program, 26th - 27 May.
This will be the next major logistical challenge, as Mike Hoehsl tells us.”We dismantle in less than a week and ship everything to the next location. In other words, our first teams will be going to set up in Chiba just one week after the last plane crosses the Finish Line at the Croisette in Cannes. It’s back-to-back, and no two races are ever the same.”