Winner Claims His 4th World Champion Gliding Title
Winner Claims His Fourth World Champion Title
Omarama, New Zealand - Sebastian Kawa of Poland was today announced the FAI World GP Gliding Champion after five days of intense racing in the skies above New Zealand's Southern Alps.
The world's current number one ranked glider pilot, Sebastian Kawa claimed the title by five points with an overall score of 30. Uli Schwenk (GER) and Ben Flewett (NZE) tied for second place with 25 points.
Kawa was delighted with his win and fourth World Champion title. "It was fast racing today which is a good contrast to previous days. With this kind of task you are unsure what the others will do. I flew an independent race, and was able to keep pace with the leading gliders. It has been a tough competition with an excellent field of pilots. It's a great Christmas gift for my family," he said.
Flewett was a favourite to win today, sitting at the top of the leader board overnight. Having won the New Zealand Gliding Grand Prix last year, also in Omarama, he was well practised in the mountainous region. However, some mid-race bold moves did not pay off and he lost touch with the front of the field finishing 10th and having to make do with second place overall.
Today's final day of racing was delayed due to weather conditions. A small weather window appeared in the late afternoon and the task setters amended the original course to a 152.3km out-and-return to Mt Hayes, which was speedily completed by all the gliders.
The overall results were decided from five days of exciting racing. There was a different winner for each of the days of racing. Peter Harvey (GBR) crossed the finish line first today to claim his first win. Kawa came second, gaining the much needed points to take him to the top of the leader board.
The advanced technology introduced this year allowed spectators around the world to follow the races via the internet, watching the pilots in the cockpits, following their progress along remote mountain ridges both from air-to-air helicopter footage and hi-tech 3D graphics, combined with commentary from experts.
While today marks the end of the FAI World GP Gliding Championship, the aviation action continues on Thursday with Air Sports Live, featuring the New Zealand Air Games. Gliding is just one of ten sports taking part and the Championship pilots will compete in specially formatted sprint races, designed to show these spectacular aircraft at their best. Again the action can be view live around the world via the internet on www.airsportslive.com.