San Diego: Ivanoff's hunting ground

The French pilot won there in 2009 – can he repeat history?

Nicolas Ivanoff in San Diego, 2009

In 2009 when the Red Bull Air Race was last in San Diego, Nicolas Ivanoff took the race win in fine style. He took the top spot on the podium by beating Paul Bonhomme by more than a second.

The American races have proved a favourite for Ivanoff, 40% of his career wins have come Stateside and with a return to San Diego he'll be hoping to repeat his achievements.

When the Red Bull Air Race World Championship was in San Diego it was the second race of the season (the same as it will be in 2017). At the end of the 2008 season Ivanoff had decided to invest in a new raceplane and began the 2009 season with his new Edge 540. The change proved to be the right decision, as he began the season finishing third in Abu Dhabi before arriving in San Diego.

He was strong throughout the race week claiming fourth in Qualifying before going into Race Day full of confidence. The Final 4 on Race Day would see Ivanoff up against Paul Bonhomme, Hannes Arch and Peter Besenyei. Ivanoff was to fly first in the Final 4 and laid down a time of 1:17.21 for the other three to beat. Bonhomme came closest, but was unable to topple the Frenchman. After the race Ivanoff said: "I am very happy about this result, the new plane is fantastic and I am already looking forward to the next race."

Ivanoff's next win in the US came in 2014 when he took the top spot in Fort Worth where he beat Pete McLeod and Nigel Lamb to the win. Ivanoff has always enjoyed flying in the US and will be full of confidence returning to a location where he has triumphed before. "I've got great memories of San Diego from 2009 and we have been good in America, so it should be a close race," said Ivanoff.

Ivanoff with be fighting 13 other Master Class pilots to try and win in San Diego on 15-16 April. You can be there, get your tickets HERE.