As many as 27,000 spectators have turned out to watch defending Red Bull Air Race world champion Paul Bonhomme take a spectacular home win at Ascot Race Course.
Pilots in the world’s fastest motorsport series delighted the capacity crowd at the event, with fashionably dressed viewers packed into the grandstands and grass terraces around the famous old course.
The loudest cheers were reserved for Britain’s Bonhomme, who came in first after qualifying from the early rounds as one of the fastest losers.
Stopping the clock at 1:11.579, his flawless flying edged fellow Brit and birthday boy Nigel Lamb into second place with a time of 1:11.750.
France’s Nicolas Ivanoff, with a time of 1:11.884, claimed third.
The event, which featured the first standing start in Red Bull Air Race World Championship history, saw Bonhomme back on the top step of the podium for the first time since the series’ opening round in Abu Dhabi.
The win moves him to within two points of current championship leader Hannes Arch after the Austrian suffered his worst result of 2014 to date.
“I think this has to be the greatest escape yet – it’s a great win,” said Bonhomme, who had a dismal performance in qualifying on Saturday and was nearly eliminated in the first round of 12 on Sunday when he was beaten by Germany’s Matthias Dolderer, who finished fourth overall on Sunday.
“The British crowd love aviation and I couldn’t have wished for a better result.
Arch could finish no higher than eighth following an error-strewn Super 8 round.
He now leads Bonhomme 43 points to 41 heading into the next round at the Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas on September 6th–7th.
With just three rounds of flying left in 2014, the championship battle between to duo looks set to be a thrilling one.