Red Bull Air Race season starting

Czech pilots Martin Šonka and Petr Kopfstein will go head to head for the first time

The new season of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship starts this weekend at Abu Dhabi.

The city is hosting the race for the 11th time.

There are two Czech pilots in the race. Martin Šonka finished last season in second place, his best showing since he began in the Red Bull championship in 2010. Petr Kopfstein came in fifth place in the 2017 season, after being 14th in 2016.

The two will be going head to head for the first time in the opening Round of 14, making it possible that one of the Czech pilots will eliminate the other at the beginning of the race. The Round of 14 is followed by the Round of Eight and a Final Four.

They joked about the possibility previously at a press conference before the season started, and that has become a reality in the first of eight races around the world that will make up the new season.

Šonka said he was not satisfied with the results of the qualifying rounds. “The track is very fast here in Abu Dhabi, and it is easy here to cross the maximum permitted 12 G limit, which happened to us repeatedly and we were definitely not the only ones. The qualifying flights were perhaps too conservative, and so the time was slower,” Šonka said.

“Despite all our efforts we still have a considerable weight handicap, and it's hard to think of reaching any track records. We have to figure out what we're gonna do because that's one of the key things in the air race.”

The qualification round was won by German pilot Matthias Dolderer with a track record time of 52,795. about a second and a half better than Šonka’s 54.323 and Kopfstein’s 54.336.

“Matthias flew well; we have to look at how he did it. But seriously, the team is waiting to analyze [the qualification round] and we will definitely find a way to improve the time. … That's what we talked about with the press before the season start, and I think Petr [Kopfstein] feels the same. You have to concentrate on your performance to get your best time. Anything else is wrong and it will not help you,” he said. He called the possibility that one of the two Czech pilots would be eliminated right away “a pity for Czech fans.”

Dolderer set his best time with his first run and pushed even harder in his second run, but that saw him break the 12G limit and he was given a DNF (did not finish) and he was told to RTB (return to base). His first time was enough to take the top spot.

American pilot Michael Goulian posted a time of 53.392, more than half a second slower than Dolderer, but still enough to see him secure second place.

Last year’s World Champion, Japanese pilot Yoshihide Muroya, was looking to grab the top spot, but at the halfway point his race plane had lost too much energy and he had to settle for third.

Fourth was French pilot Mika Brageot with a new look for his race plan. He showed more confidence and flew smoothly.

Australian pilot Matt Hall came in last. He received a DNF in his first round, meaning he was unable to set a time and will fly first in the Round of 14 against Dolderer.

With the new racing rules, there were four over-Gs in the qualifying round and three DNFs for exceeding the 12G limit. 

For more visit also:
Red Bull Air Race
Martin Šonka
Petr Kopfstein

Video on YouTube

Related articles

  • A Day Trip To Some Of The Best Castles by Shaun O'Banion

    The results are in and the most popular Czech castles (based on the number of visitors) have been announced by the Czech state.

  • Five of the Best Trails to Go Hiking in the Czech Republic by Erin Naillon

    Getting away from it all – out of Prague, away from the gridlocked traffic – is a great way to unwind after a hectic week. You can take your car (or the bus, or a train) to somewhere well outside the city and get out in nature. While the good weather lasts, it’s helpful for hikers and would-be hikers to know where they can find trails of varying difficulty to work off the tensions of the week.

  • Swimming in the Vltava River – Every Sunday from 10am by Caroline Marcela

    What better way to treat a Saturday night hangover than swim in the Vltava river on a Prague Sunday morning!

  • Take a Cycling Tour Through the Czech Republic by Erin Naillon

    Those wanting not only to get out into nature, but to experience it outside the confines of a car, have the option of taking a cycle tour from Prague to various destinations, even in other countries. For those intent upon long-distance cycling, the Greenways route runs from Prague to Vienna, with bicycle rental available at various points along the route (Prague, Český Krumlov, Telč, and Mikulov are just four of the cities where cyclists can rent bicycles).

  • The Best Outdoor Skating in Prague! by Shaun O'Banion

  • Celebrity Charity Football Game by Anelya Kadyrova

    A charity football match between Prague Raptors FC and the Supporting Charities Phoenix FC will be held on August 10th in Prague.

  • Send your kids to the Raptors…Football Academy! by Paul Lysek

    The Prague Raptors are starting their own football academy for kids aged 4-7. The first session takes place on August 20th and is completely free.

  • Prague Lions: Czech Bowl Champions by Paul Lysek

    The Prague Lions beat the Ostrava Steelers 29:23 on Saturday to win their first title in over a decade.

  • American Football Czech Bowl! by Micah Lembke

    The Prague Lions defeated the Vysočina Gladiators in the Paddock League Semifinal and earned a spot in Czech Bowl XXVI. 

  • American football: Playoff time! by Micah Lembke

    The Prague Lions have finished the regular season with 9 wins, one loss, and the top seed in the Paddock League semifinals. 

Facebook comments

Ristorante Casa de Carli

Authentic Italian cuisine in Prague

The James Joyce Irish Pub

Best Irish Pub in Prague

Pražské Benátky

Enjoy Prague from a different view

Prague Raptors Football Club

Multi-Cultural, Community Football Club based in Prague

Hugo Bike Prague

HUGO Bike Prague & Segwaytrip

Adventure Minigolf Hotel...

Outdoor Adventure Minigolf

Toboga Prague

Indoor Playground in Prague 5, Zlicin

Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…