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Ten moments that have defined the #event on the eve of the 2017 season.
The Red Bull Air Race pilots take to the skies for another season opener in Abu Dhabi this weekend, the 10th time the race has graced the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
On the eve of the annual championship, we take a look back at 10 of the moments to have defined the #event.
1. Zeltweg 2003 - The first ever race takes place in Zeltweg, Austria, a race won by Hungarian pilot Peter Besenyei, who had played an integral role in getting the #event off the ground. He won that season’s only other race in Budapest to take the inaugural title.
2. Abu Dhabi 2005 - A milestone in the history of the sport as it was the first ever race to be under the banner of an official 'World Championship'. Peter Besenyei clinched victory in fine style with current Race Director Steve Jones behind him in second and Mike Mangold in third, who went on to take the title.
3. Rio 2007 - With the championship expanded to 10 races and 13 pilots, it enjoyed its first ever stop in South America as vast crowds gathered on Rio de Janeiro’s coastline to watch the action unfold from the skies in one of the most visually spectacular events in its relatively short history.
4. The 2007 finale - In the closest ever championship, Mike Mangold and Paul Bonhomme finished after the 10th and final race tied at the top on 47 points apiece. They boasted the same number of wins, second, third and fifth places but Mangold clinched the title by a tie-breaker.
5. 2009 title - One of the early pilots in the series, Paul Bonhomme had already come close to winning a maiden title. It looked set to evade him once more as Hannes Arch took an early lead but Bonhomme clawed back the disadvantage with three race victories for the first of what would be three titles.
6. 2014 comeback - Red Bull Air Race packed up for three seasons to regroup and improve overall safety but returned with a bang for the 2014 campaign. The face of the #event was changed with standardised engines and propellers, meaning the result relied ever more on pilot skill than ever before.
7. 2014 season finale - Three pilots went into the final race in Spielberg vying for the crown. Arch was clearly the home favourite, the word Hannes spelt out by spectators across the main grandstand. But it was British pilot Nigel Lamb who won the season finale and, with it, the overall title.
8. The Challenger Cup is born - Very much a season of change, 2014 also saw the introduction of the Challenger Cup, a feeding ground for future Master Class pilots. It is from here that the two new-for-2014 Master Class men Cristian Bolton and ‘Mika’ Brageot first found their feet.
9. A season of dominance - The last campaign in 2016 was perhaps the most dominant by any pilot to date, for the first time the world champion crowned, in this case Matthias Dolderer, with a race to spare.
10. Motoring history - Indianapolis Motor Speedway has had a rich heritage of #racing on the ground most notably with the Indy 500 but it became the latest iconic venue to host a round of the Red Bull Air Race. It proved to be the season finale with Lamb retiring from the sport with a second place finish behind Dolderer.
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