x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abu Dhabi back in the loop for air race

The Red Bull Air Race is expected to take off again in 2014 - and Abu Dhabi has been approached by organisers to be one of the host sites.

Abu Dhabi has hosted the two-day race six times since 2005.
Abu Dhabi has hosted the two-day race six times since 2005.

The Red Bull Air Race is expected to take off again in 2014 - and Abu Dhabi has been approached by organisers to be one of the host sites.

According to Red Bull officials, a team is working on securing a fixed calendar for the race, which is held in cities across the world.

"Time is flying and it may still seem a long way to go until we all hear 'smoke on' from the loudspeakers again," said a statement on the Red Bull air Race website. "In reality, a very long period of time is needed to turn this project into a stable and economically viable sport."

A spokesman for Abu Dhabi's Tourism and Culture Authority said: "We have been approached by the Red Bull Air Race organisers and are currently undertaking necessary due diligence to determine the likely benefits for the emirate before committing to any involvement going forward."

Abu Dhabi has hosted the two-day race six times since 2005.

Before the event was shelved, there were more than a dozen pilots in the series.

The purpose-built single-seater planes shot through an obstacle course at speeds of up to 370 kph.

The pilot with fastest time scored the most points in the series that took place in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Windsor, Canada and Perth, Australia.

Hannes Arch, an Austrian champion who came second in the final 2010 series, flew for Abu Dhabi. He flew last year at Al Ain Air Show.

"Information on a potential race season in 2014, a revamped concept and further details on the changes concerning our aerosport will be released in the future," the website said.

When Red Bull announced it was putting the race on ice "for the future success and development of the sport", it said it would return this year.

"The organisation will use this opportunity to fast-track the technological advancements currently in the making, which would further improve the already high levels of safety," organisers said.

The break was also necessary, the organisers added, to develop strong host city partnerships to "secure a long-term race calendar".

eharnan@thenational.ae