Paul Bonhomme will take a commanding six-point lead in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship into the third stop of the season in Rovinj, Croatia on May 30-31 after hard-fought victories in the first two races of the 2015 season in Abu Dhabi and Japan.  But the British ace is guarding against over confidence because he knows from the past that anything can happen in the world’s fastest motorsport series.
Bonhomme will be looking for revenge in Rovinj after he was beaten by Austria’s Hannes Arch by a heart-breaking narrow margin 0.08 of a second – Arch won in 59.012 seconds with Bonhomme in 59.097. That defeat in Rovinj last year, the narrowest margin of victory ever, sent Bonhomme into a tailspin and he only made it onto the podium in one of the next five races, leaving him third overall in the championship in 2014.
Going into the third race of the season, Bonhomme leads the world championship standings with 24 points, in front of Australia’s Matt Hall with 18 points. Other contenders close behind include defending champion Nigel Lamb (8 points), Germany’s Matthias Dolderer (7 points), Canada’s Pete McLeod (7 points), France’s Nicolas Ivanoff (6 points), Austria’s Hannes Arch (5 points) and red-hot Yoshihide Muroya of Japan (4 points) with six races left.  Dolderer and Arch are again expecting large numbers of fans to come to Rovinj from nearby Austria and Germany.
Bonhomme has 17 career victories but never managed to win three races in a row in a single season. He will nevertheless try to equal the record for three straight race victories in one season set by former double world champion Mike Mangold of the United States at the end of the 2005 season. But with the top eight pilots all flying within a second of each other in the increasingly competitive field at the last race in Chiba, Japan, Team Bonhomme know that they will have their work cut out for them on the racetrack set up in the Adriatic just off the shores of the magnificent Croatian town of Rovinj.
“The most sensible thing to do now is to ignore what’s happened so far this season and treat the next race in Croatia like it’s the first race of the season,” said Bonhomme. “There’s always a risk you’ll sit back on your laurels but we can’t do that because the competition is so tough.”
Unlike in past seasons when there were only two or three pilots challenging for race victories and the championship, the field this year is wide open with eight of the 14 pilots flying fast enough at times to win the race. Muroya of Japan set the track record at home in Chiba. Lamb, Arch, Ivanoff and McLeod all won races last year and could cause problems for Bonhomme in Rovinj while Hall is on fire with two close second place finishes. Dolderer and Muroya also have the speed to win in Croatia.
World Championship Standings:
1. Paul Bonhomme (GBR) 24 points, 2. Matt Hall (AUS) 18, 3. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 8, 4. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 7, 5. Pete McLeod (CAN) 7, 6. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 6, 7.  Hannes Arch (AUT) 5, 8. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 4, 9. Michael Goulian (USA) 3, 10. Peter Besenyei (HUN) 2, 11. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 2, 12. Juan Velarde (ESP) 0, 13. Martin Sonka (CZE) 0, 14. Francois Le Vot (FRA) 0.

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