Šonka third at Lausitz

The Czech pilot keeps lead in Red Bull Air Race World Championship

Czech pilot Martin Šonka finished third at the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Lausitz, Germany, but he maintained his four-point lead in the overall standings. Just one race remains in the eight-race season to decide the championship. His time on the course was 00:50:964

Yoshihide Muroya won the race with a time of 00:50:451, and Mat Hall from Australia came in second with 00:50:846.

Šonka said that the presence of so many Czech fans was important. A whole section of the viewing stand was filled by Czechs who traveled to the race circuit near Dresden. “It was quite comparable to the support that [German pilot] Matthias Dolderer had here, maybe even bigger. I always say it and I will repeat it: it's a real feeling when you see so many flags on the stands, and people are applauding you and cheering you on. We wanted to make them happy because the whole season is behind us, and a huge thanks goes to them,” Šonka said.

As for his third-place finish, he tried to keep it in perspective. “There were so many fast pilots that I have to be satisfied. But what I'm not satisfied with is that I slowed down a little bit in the final four. I was hoping for a faster time, but Yoshi and Matt flew superb times.

In the first round, Šonka flew against French pilot Nicolas Ivanoff. Both flew well, with no penalties. But Šonka crossed the finish gate he was 0.679 seconds faster than his French rival.

Šonka flew against McLeod in the round of eight. “We did not expect that, but that's the race system. In any case, if you want to win, you have to be able to beat anyone. Pete is flying very well, he's really a tough opponent, but we've focused on ourselves, and I've been doing it just the way I planned,” Šonka said.

Šonka went on to the final four with the fastest time of the round, 00:50.596, and McLeod was eliminated after flying the course in 00:50.898.

For the final four, Šonka planned to repeat his performance from the group of eight.

“The strategy was to fly the same way as in the semifinal, but the last vertical maneuver in the final was maybe too conservative. Yoshi flew really fast, just like Matt, so it's third place. It is good that we have kept the lead in the overall order, we still have a four-point lead in the championship. The last race will definitely be thrilling; fans have something to look forward to,” Šonka said.

The second Czech pilot, Petr Kopfstein, dropped out in the second round when he crossed the maximum G limit and was disqualified. “I had to push, but it was slightly too much. Just 6/100ths of a second over the G limit. It was an unnecessary mistake, but at this stage of a competition you can't fly conservatively,” Kopfstein said. He dropped to sixth place in the overall rankings.

The last decisive race of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship season is in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Oct. 14 and 15.

Red Bull Air Race airrace.redbull.com
Martin Šonka www.martin-sonka.cz
Petr Kopfstein www.kopfstein.com

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