American Mike Mangold (Team Cobra) snatched the 2007 Red Bull Air Race World Series championship from Britain’s Paul Bonhomme (Team Matador) today after the closest fought title race in the competition’s 4 year history. Mangold, the 2005 champion, came third in Perth putting him on 47 points for the season, equalling Bonhomme’s points total. The Brit finished a disappointing fifth in the last race of the season – his worst result this year and the first time the usually consistent Bonhomme has failed to get on the podium in 2007.

52-year-old Californian Mangold took the title thanks to better results in elimination rounds after both pilots had exactly the same number of podium places this season. Hungary’s Peter Besenyei (Team Red Bull) took third place in the 2007 standings.

The dramatic end of season showdown was witnessed by more than 200,000 excited fans who lined the banks of the Swan River to watch Nicolas Ivanoff (France/M.R.T.) take advantage of Bonhomme and Mangold’s apparent nerves to take his first victory of the season. In a race which didn’t go to form at all, America’s Mike Goulian took second place on the podium.

There was consolation for the Brits who took first place in the overall team competition. Team Matador, made up of Bonhomme and fellow Brit Steve Jones, took the team championship with 64 points.

“I’m incredibly happy,” said Mangold. “The title landed in my lap at the last minute. I really wasn’t expecting it. It was a long and extremely difficult year. We had some problems during the course of the season, but the team didn’t stick its head in the sand. We worked hard on becoming successful again.”

Bonhomme, who received thunderous applause from the crowd, was magnanimous in defeat. “It was a constant battle with Mike all season and at the end of the day he was the luckier pilot. It could hardly be any closer than that. It’s incredible. But it’s now time to do some serious celebration.”

The aerial battle through air pylons set up on a slalom course just metres above the surface of the Swan River in the Western Australia city saw the pilots hit speeds of up to 400 km/hour (250 mph) and forces of up to 10G.

For a full run down of the final championship standings and to watch Red Bull Air Race Video Highlight, please visit our Red Bull Air Race Section