Šonka takes lead in Red Bull Air Race

The Czech pilot has own three races in a row after upgrading his plane

Czech pilot Martin Šonka won his third race in a row in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, on Sept. 16, following victories in Budapest and Kazan. Šonka has now jumped into first place overall with two races remaining in the season.

In Wiener Neustadt, Šonka made his best time in the finals and came ahead of Japanese pilot Yoshihide Muroya and Australian pilot Matt Hall.

Šonka has turned his fortunes around after a tough start the season. He had two technical disqualifications resulting in point losses. After the third race, he changed the cylinders in his plane, which improved his speed.

The Wiener Neustadt race was located close to the Czech Republic, making it convenient for fans to go.

“It's an unbelievable result and I am very happy. A lot of Czech fans came here; our flags flew everywhere. It is hard to describe what it means for us. It was almost like a domestic race,” Šonka said.

There has never been a Red Bull Air Race in the Czech Republic.

“After qualifying, we were not completely satisfied, although we finished third. The teams in the front were much faster. Today it was all different, in each flight we got faster until the final was the best one. It’s thanks to the whole team, who worked hard to get this done,” he added.

Even though he now is in the lead, the season is far from over. Each race has a maximum of 15 points for the pilot to earn, and now he is only six points ahead of Matt Hall.

“There are still 30 points in the game, which is a lot. After last season I know that anything can happen in the air race, and nothing is certain until the last flight,” he said.

Šonka finished last season in second place, just four points from the lead after a disappointing fourth place in the final race. Yoshihide Muroya won the final race and the season.

“We are looking ahead to the race in Indianapolis and then in Fort Worth. They will be challenging races, and we have to prepare well for them. Everyone now sees that the time differences are minimal. Details that at first glance seem not very important can be decisive. Today we'll celebrate with the team, as this win is a big thing. After we relax briefly, we'll get back to hard work,” he said.

Fellow Czech pilot finished in 13th place in Wiener Neustadt and is in 10th place overall.

The next race in Indianapolis will be Oct. 6 and 7, and the final in Dallas–Fort Worth on Nov. 17 and 18.


Red Bull Air Race Overall Ranking
1. Martin Šonka / CZE / 64 Points
2. Matt Hall / AUS / 58 Points
3. Michael Goulian / USA / 55 Points


Related links
Red Bull Air Race
Martin Šonka

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