Historic first: Over 60,000 witness Red Bull Air Racing Demo in Dammam

Historic first: Over 60,000 witness Red Bull Air Racing Demo in Dammam

26.03.2019: The Red Bull Air Race Demo in Dammam on 21-23 March was one of the highlights of the Sharqiah Season in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, giving the largest sovereign state in the Middle East its first view of the three-dimensional motorsport. With clear s

The Red Bull Air Race Demo in Dammam on 21-23 March was one of the highlights of the Sharqiah Season in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, giving the largest sovereign state in the Middle East its first view of the three-dimensional motorsport. With clear skies for flying plus ground-based activities like tours of a real racetrack pylon, the weekend was popular with families.



Over 60,000 people took in the demo alone, with more than 100,000 enjoying the Sky Dammam festival overall as it extended into the evening hours. Now, anticipation is higher than ever for the inaugural Red Bull Air Race World Championship stop in Saudi Arabia, when the sport’s season finale takes off this November.




The Demo in Dammam was organised in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA), and the Dammam Corniche provided an ideal platform to demonstrate the DNA of the Red Bull Air Race. Play-by-play from Firas Nimri, the region’s foremost motorsports commentator, and Nick Fellows, the voice of the Red Bull Air Race, explained the sport to the dazzled crowds watching at Al-Plaza Beach.



“It is something good for Saudis, for the region, because you are giving the locals a chance to see this fascinating sport – to get in touch with the planes, the spectacle, the atmosphere – all the nice things about this Air Race,” said Nimri. “They used to hear about it, but now they can see it, they can feel it.”


The aviation experts taking part in the demo were just as enthusiastic as the locals. “Overall I would say this is a perfect place for having a race. This Corniche bay is almost like it has been designed for us, the airport is super friendly as well, and we’ve had a very smooth relationship with the Dammam controllers,” said Sergio Pla, the Red Bull Air Race Head Judge and the Demo Director for Dammam. “We feel very welcome here, and I couldn’t ask for anything else.”



Flying a total of ten demos and more than 40 runs across Thursday, Friday and Saturday, two pilots from the feeder class of the Red Bull Air Race, the Challenger Cup, showcased the sport’s speed, precision and skill. The somewhat simplified, straight-line racetrack over the water featured the same type of 25-metre-high, air-filled pylons used across the eight-race season, and while the results didn’t count for points, the pilots held nothing back. With the lead going back-and-forth, both opponents experienced the thrill of winning demo heats in the new location.



“As a race pilot, you always want to win, and I didn’t give anything away – I went all in,” stated Sweden’s Daniel Ryfa, who is the most experienced pilot in the talented Challenger Cup field, with multiple season podiums. “For me, it was an honour to be among the very first pilots ever to race here, and I’ve had very good feedback from the local people. They seem to be very keen and interested in what we are doing, and they want to see the raceplanes and talk with us.”



His rival Baptiste Vignes, a Frenchman with four race podiums so far, added, “I’m very happy and proud to be part of this first-ever Red Bull Air Race Demo flying in Saudi Arabia. We have a very beautiful location, and this experience is unique, because we have to think about it as demo… but we are race pilots! There is always a clock in motorsports, and especially in Air Racing, so we have to stay focused.”



When the Red Bull Air Race takes off for real in Saudi Arabia with the country’s race debut on 8-9 November 2019, the competition will be real and suspense will be off the charts. The stop will mark the season finale, where the Challenger Cup will be decided and, in an intense climax for the elite Master Class, the 2019 World Champion will ultimately be crowned.






www.redbullairrace.com




RED BULL AIR RACE 2019 CALENDAR



08-09 February:  Abu Dhabi, UAE
15-16 June:         Kazan, Russia
13-14 July:          Lake Balaton, Hungary
TBA:                   Europe
07-08 Sept.:        Chiba, Japan
TBA:                   Asia
19-20 Oct.:         Indianapolis, USA
08-09 Nov.:        Saudi Arabia





 
Three M Performance Group GMBH- photos Mihai Stetcu/Red Bull Content Pool

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/red-bull-air-race-demo-damman-witness-historic-first---188333.html

26.03.2019 / MaP

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