Tight battle at top for Red Bull Air Race
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship moves to Putrajaya, Malaysia with Hannes Arch and Paul Bonhomme locked in a tight battle for the lead. PUTRAJAYA (Malaysia) - Hannes Arch of Austria and Paul Bonhomme of Britain will be taking their heated rivalry for the championship lead to the hottest race of the 2014 season on May 17/18 when the Red Bull Air Race touches down in Putrajaya, Malaysia for the first time. Arch, the 2008 champion, beat the defending champion from Great Britain in the last race of the world's fastest motorsport series in Rovinj, Croatia by fractions of a second following Bonhomme's narrow defeat over Arch in the season opener in Abu Dhabi. Japan's Yoshihide Muroya is looking forward to the first race in Asia after getting his career-first podium with a strong third place in Rovinj. Australia's Matt Hall is confident the race in his corner of the world can revive his championship hopes after the former Royal Australian Air Force fighter pilot suffered from untimely pylon hits in the first two races. Canada's Pete McLeod, third in Abu Dhabi, will be hard pressed in Putrajaya to hold onto third overall as the gaps between the pilots has narrowed this year due to rule changes - all 12 pilots fly with a standardized engine and propeller. The competition in Rovinj was fierce with a record-breaking number of pylon hits. The pilots have been looking forward to the first race in Putrajaya, where temperatures in May rise above 30 degrees, as one of the highlights of the season. Putrajaya is just south of Kuala Lumpur and was built in the 1990s. The city is committed to sustainable development and represents the coming-of-age of Malaysia. Malaysia's Challenger Cup pilot Halim Othman, a decorated air display team leader and former "top gun" pilot in the Royal Malaysian Air Force, will be taking part in the Challenger Cup competition that gives new pilots a chance to develop their low-altitude flying skills under race conditions, in a separate event from the main race. In the Red Bull Air Race, pilots' race against the clock as they try to navigate their planes as fast as possible through a challenging low-altitude slalom course filled with Air Gate pylons. The pilots reach top speeds of up to 370 kilometers per hour and endure forces of up to 10Gs in the tight turns on courses. World Championship Standings: 1. Hannes Arch (AUT) 21 points, 2. Paul Bonhomme (GBR) 21, 3. Pete McLeod (CAN) 12, 4. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 7, 5. Matt Hall (AUS) 7, 6. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 5, 7. Martin Sonka (CZE) 5, 8. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 5, 9. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 5, 10. Kirby Chambliss (USA.