Sonka soars to victory in opening Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi

The 10th season of the official World Championship started with its anniversary 75th race

Martin Šonka won his first and his country's first Red Bull Air Race at the season opener in Abu Dhabi (see video below). The Czech endured a hit and miss 2016, which included three DQ’s, but he took an early lead in the 2017 season finishing 1.027 seconds ahead of Juan Velarde.

The Spaniard achieved his first podium finish in the process as he pipped Canadian Pete McLeod by 1.493 seconds. It was a memorable start to the 75th anniversary Red Bull Air Race and Sonka was understandably overjoyed at the win.

"It's a surreal feeling, a dream come true,” said Šonka.

“All the flights today I managed to fly exactly according to plan, cleanly, without unnecessary mistakes. The plane worked great and everything just came together perfectly.”

“I am very happy for the team and for the fans, who have kept their fingers crossed. It is hard now to describe exactly what is going on in me, especially after last season.”

“We’ve taken a step in the right direction; we’ve managed to fly consistently and mostly error-free. We know that it is only the beginning of the season but it's a dream start to it” Šonka added.

McLeod was first up fly and set the pace for the Final 4. He flew at a time of 54.632s and while he was visibly happy he probably knew it wasn’t enough for first place. Up next was Sonka and his excellent time of 53.139 put him in first with world champion Matthias Dolderer set to fly next.

Dolderer’s time of 53.227 meant he was 0.088 seconds slower than Šonka, which would've been enough for him to finish second, but an error in Gate 14 for incorrect flying level gave him a two second penalty and pushed him down the standings. Velarde was last up knowing exactly what time was needed to reach the podium and his superb flight wasn’t enough to beat deserved winner Šonka but enough to make history for the Spaniard.

Next to come for Šonka is a trip to the USA as the Red Bull Air Race continues in San Diego on April 15-16. You can read a full preview for the Red Bull Air Race here on Prague TV.


Red Bull Air Race www.redbullairrace.com
Martin Šonka www.martin-sonka.cz

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

The James Joyce Irish Pub

Best Irish Pub in Prague

Ristorante Casa de Carli

Authentic Italian cuisine 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


PragueMonitor.com

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


CitySpy.cz

Digital lifestyle magazine platform promoting life in Prague.