11 internationally renowned pilots battled it out last weekend at the first international Formula One class air racing series – Air Race F1 – in Lleida, near Barcelona, Spain. Pilots from the USA, UK, France and Sweden were revved up to showcase some of the world’s best air racing in which French pilot Christian Guilie won the overall title on Sunday 1 June.
Guilie was crowned the winner in the Gold Class Final when he crossed the line with an average speed of 383kph (238mph). It was a truly global podium with three different nationalities comprising first, second and third spots. Guilie was seen as the dark horse from day one of race week when the sleek plane that he designed and built himself was unveiled at the Lleida-Alguaire Airport; the expectation that the European planes may be slower than their trans-Atlantic cousins’ was quickly dismissed. The race itself was close with Guilie taking the win ahead of USA’s veteran race pilot Jay Jones and Sweden’s
Thom Richard. While his rivals’ experience and maneuverability was arguably stronger it was the Frenchman’s use of energy and speed that was the deciding factor.
The Silver Class Final was also a blisteringly competitive race, in which rookie Des Hart was first to cross the line with an average speed of 293kph (182mph). With the planes constantly jostling for position from the outset, the Scotsman eventually came out on top after moving steadily up through the pack, passing everyone on the circuit in his plane Hart-Attack. French pilots, Guy Chereau and rookie Stansilas Damiron finished a close second and third respectively.
Please find a list of full race positions for both the Gold and Silver Classes below:
Gold Class Final Results:
- Race #6 Christian Guilie – Fra – 239 mph
- Race #45 Jay Jones – US – 232 mph
- Race #99 Thom Richard – Swe – 222 mph
- Race #46 Vincent Martinez – Fra – 195 mph
- Race #11 Des Hart – UK – 174 mph
- Race #19 Stansilas Damiron – Fra – 170 mph
- Race #25 Bernard Marichy – Fra – 167 mph
- Race #87 Steve Temple – US – DNF
Silver Class Final results:
- Race #11 Des Hart – UK – 182 mph
- Race #31 Guy Chereau – Fra – 174 mph
- Race #19 Stansilas Damiron – Fra – 171 mph
- Race #25 Bernard Marichy – Fra – 169 mph
- Race #22 Trevor Jarvis – UK – 147 mph
- Race #55 Patrick Gajan – Fra – 138 mph
All results were fully ratified by the three recognized Formula One air racing associations f the United States, France and UK. Respectively they are the International Formula One Association (IF1), the Association des Pilotes d’Avions de Formules (APAF) and the Formula Air Racing Association (FARA).
Christian Guilie, overall winner, noted he was particularly delighted to have won because of the high quality of piloting skills he was up against. Having built the plane himself to be specifically designed to his own body, he acknowledged that he felt confident, but knew that other pilots in the race had very clever tactics that could prove victorious.
Jay Jones, on coming second in the inaugural Gold Class Final, commented: “I am extremely pleased to be part of the first Air Race F1 event here in Lleida, Catalunya. It was a close contest and credit has to go to Christian for putting together such a fantastic plane and racing it so well.”
Des Hart, the winner in the Silver Class, said: “I fought hard all week in the run up to the final, battling mechanical problems, but the dedication of my engineering team kept my hopes high. In the final I used that motivation to drive me from the back of the grid. But there was so much great flying that anyone could have won and I won’t rest on my laurels next time.”
Jeff Zaltman, CEO of Air Race F1, commented: “I’ve never been so proud to be associated with a group of such talented and skilled competitors. This weekend in Lleida we witnessed some of the most exciting air racing in years, matched only by the camaraderie and sportsmanship displayed on and off the course. My congratulations to the winners as well as each pilot who joined us for this historic beginning.”
Air Race F1 is proud to have a wide range of partners who share a motivation to encourage sporting excellence. Burn Energy Drink; Sportium, the sports betting company; the insurance giant AIG and a world leader in the development of aviation products, Continental Motors, are among the sponsors to join forces with Air Race F1. Other partners included SEAT which signed up as the Official Car of the Air Race F1 whose cars were driven by the race teams; and the Hotel Nastasi, the Official Hotel.
Highlights of the weekend, including the qualifying and both the Silver and Gold Class finals can be viewed on Air Race F1’s YouTube channe