Red Bull Air Race 2010: Arch Beats Lamb In Rio de Janeiro

Hannes Arch claims the fastest run in the Qualifying Rounds and steals the point from competitor Nigel Lamb at the 2010 Red Bull Air Race in Rio de Janeiro.

Nigel Lamb.  Photo: Mouhtaropoulos/Getty ImagesHannes Arch of Austria came from behind to beat Nigel Lamb of Britain in the first qualifying runs of the 2010 Red Bull Air Race in Rio de Janeiro

Overall leader Paul Bonhomme took a disappointing third place at Rio de Janeiro's Flamengo Beach.

Hannes Arch, who was in second place behind Lamb after the first of two Qualifying runs ahead of Sunday’s race, opened the throttle on his second run under brilliant blue skies and tropical temperatures.

Despite winds that were slowing down most of the pilots, the Austrian managed to shave nearly a second off his earlier time to steal the one point awarded to the fastest qualifier from Nigel Lamb.

Arch stopped the clock in 1:20.44, 0.73 ahead of Lamb and 1.18 ahead of Bonhomme. The defending champion, Bonhomme, still leads the championship with 22 points with Lamb (18) in second and Arch (15) alone in third.

The race on Saturday had a record qualifying crowd of 400,000 and a crowd of up to one million is expected for the race on Sunday. There was a crowd of one million at the first race in Rio de Janeiro in 2007.

“I'm pleased I was able to raise my game today. We need every point to catch up with Paul. The engine works great and my team is working great. I'm really motivated for tomorrow,” said Hannes Arch.

“I enjoyed that,” said Nigel Lamb. “I love the set up of the aircraft and just loved being on the track today. Of course I’m disappointed not to get the championship point. But it was a very positive day.”

Australia’s Matt Hall took a promising fourth place in Qualifying, just 1.54 behind Hannes Arch.

Brazilian rookie Adilson Kindlemann will only be a spectator after his plane was wrecked in an accident in Perth.

The 2010 race in Rio de Janeiro is the second consecutive race this year in the Southern Hemisphere, the first time in Red Bull Air Race history that there have been back-to-back races south of the equator and a reflection of the growing popularity of the sport around the world.

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