The Red Bull Air Race World Series 2008 starts in Abu Dhabi on 10th and  11th April with the first of 10 international races which will see 12 of  the worlds top pilots competing in what is expected to be the most  exciting season yet. After the closest finish in sporting history last  season, American Mike Mangold will be back to defend his championship  title against Brit Paul Bonhomme in what has now become a truly global  motorsport.

  The United Arab Emirates city is the traditional start for the Red Bull  Air Race World Series, and for its fourth consecutive race, a unique track  will be set up over the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf next to the  famous Corniche stretch. As at all races, spectators will enjoy amazing  views of the action enabling them to really appreciate the extraordinary  speed, skill and courage of these incredible sportsmen.

  Racing just metres above the sea, the pilots will navigate 20 metre high  inflatable pylons called Air Gates, flying at speeds reaching 400 km/h  and pulling up to 10 g.

  This years opening race track will be different to previous years. For  the first time ever, two separate Chicanes will be incorporated and to  make it even more challenging, the pilots will have to constantly adjust  to the wind conditions in Abu Dhabi which are notoriously unpredictable.

  In 2007, four million spectators attended the 10 races held worldwide and  over 400 million watched the Red Bull Air Race World Series on television.

 After the drama of last season where the World Champion was only decided  at the final race, the 2008 pilots, including newcomer Glen Dell from  South Africa, have been working hard on their planes and strategies in  preparation for this years competition.

  The Red Bull Air Race takes place in close partnership with the Abu Dhabi  Tourism Authority and under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al  Nahyan. The picturesque blue skies and dramatic Abu Dhabi shoreline will  provide a spectacular backdrop for the first round of the international  motor sports championship which will be one of the Middle Easts most  breathtaking events of the year.

  Qualifying takes place on Thursday 10th April followed by Race Day on  Friday 11th April.