WINDSOR, ON, May 31 /CNW/ - As the Red Bull Air Race World Championship prepares to land in Windsor, Ontario - the fourth stop and only Canadian city in the series - all eyes are on the widening field of title contenders. In the most closely fought battle in the sport's history, at least five teams are in the running for the championship title, including local hero Pete McLeod, the youngest and first-ever Canadian pilot in the championship. The Red Lake, Ontario native currently sits in 5th place and is looking forward to the race on his home turf, flying above the Detroit River on June 5 and 6.
Britain's Paul Bonhomme, on 31 points, is clinging to a shrinking lead at the top of a pack of challengers that includes compatriot Nigel Lamb (28 points), Austria's Hannes Arch (27 points), Australia's Matt Hall (22 points) and Pete McLeod (19 points).
Bonhomme, who turned his waning 2009 season around with a victory in Windsor, will be looking for the same to happen this year after back-to-back third place finishes at the last two races in Perth and Rio de Janeiro. "It is most definitely a three horse race...or possibly four?" said Bonhomme. "No one is going to have an easy year. We're still at the top of the table. That might change, but now I'm itching with excitement to get into the track in Windsor to try and win a race."
McLeod has fond memories from last year's race in Windsor, where despite competing in a relatively slow and heavy plane, he got his season-best result to the delight of the home crowd. Spectators and veteran competitors alike were impressed by the young Canadian pilot's performance under pressure in 2009, especially on the challenging track above the Detroit River which was made even more difficult by the strong, changing winds.. With a faster, improved plane and a year's experience under his belt, the Canadian ace is looking forward to using the local crowd to his advantage in Windsor again this year.
"I'm stoked about returning to Canada for the next race," said McLeod, who learned how to fly float planes in Ontario's rugged north and aims to be the world champion by the time he is 30 years old. "Overall, I feel I have an advantage in Windsor. It's close to home, and the support of the Canadian fans really motivates the team and me. As for the track, it was one of my favourites last season - very tight and unforgiving."
The city of Windsor is also looking forward to solely hosting Red Bull Air Race for the second year in a row. Ontario's Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan has been full of praise for the race, which he said gave the region an important economic boost last year.
The race in Windsor marks the half-way point of the 2010 season. The next stop is New York on June 19 & 20. The world championship then shifts to Europe for the final three races in Germany, Hungary and Portugal.
Video of Red Bull Air Race Windsor Qualifying round will be available via satellite downlink:
Date: June 05, 2010
Time: 21.30 - 21.45 GMT (= 17.30 - 17.45 ET)
Satellite: Intelsat IS-9 at 302 degrees East (or 58 degrees West) -
9MHz c-band slot
Txp. 24C - Channel D
Downlink Frequency: 4173.500 MHZ
Downlink Polarisation: horizontal (X)
Encoding: Tandberg 4:2:0 - DVBS / QPSK Modulation
SR 6.1113 msym/sec
FEC 3/4 clear key
Video Standard: 525/NTSC 16:9 SD feed - partly with intern. graphics
Audio: Ch 1: international sound left,
Ch 2: international sound right
The Red Bull Air Race Press Room is a free-of-charge media service providing news stories, high resolution photographs, and clips for TV, web and radio as well as race results and background information about the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Non-rights holders can film and conduct interviews leading up to the race (last day is Training Day 2 on Friday, June 4) however no access to the race airport or race location will be granted on Qualifying and Race Day.
For more news and content, please visit the press section via the link at: www.redbullairrace.com or directly at www.redbullairrace.com/press
SOURCE RED BULL AIR RACE
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