18 Kvě 2014

Sonka stays cool in tropical Malaysian heat

Putrajaya, Red Bull Air Race No Comments

PUTRAJAYA (Malaysia) – Britain’s Nigel Lamb upset Austria’s Hannes Arch in an action-packed Red Bull Air Race World Championship battle on Sunday in the sweltering tropical heat of Putrajaya, getting an emotional first career victory in his 44th race. Australia’s Matt Hall took third in the first-ever east Asia race.

But it was Sonka, a former Czech Air Force fighter pilot, who continued to impress with his consistently solid flying. The 36-year-old from Sezimovo Usti/Pardubice made it through the first round into the Super Eight for the third time in three races this season and nearly made it to the Final Four for the first time in his career.

“That’s our goal to get to the Final Four and we were just two-tenths of a second away from that today,“ said Sonka, who has two sixth places and one seventh this season. “We were close to our goal. We didn’t make it this time but hopefully at the next race in Gydnya (Poland).“

Sonka, who was cheered on by his girlfriend Olga and their infant daughter Anita, had been last in Qualifying on Saturday after doing some experiment in the track set up over Putrajaya Lake. His team also made some adjustments to the engine before Sunday’s race.

“I didn’t want to show the others all the aces we had up our sleeves,“ said Sonka. “Our team and technician did a great job with the engine setting and I didn’t make any mistakes with the flying. So it’s all quite okay.“

Arch moved into the overall lead with 30 points after the third round of the eight-race world championship that has stops in seven countries on three continents. Bonhomme, who saw his string of 15 straight podiums abruptly ended, is second overall with 25 points, while Lamb moved into third on 17 points. Sonka is sixth with 8 points.

Results: 1. Nigel Lamb (GBR), 2. Hannes Arch (AUT), 3. Matt Hall (AUS), 4. Pete McLeod (CAN), 5. Paul Bonhomme (GBR), 6. Martin Sonka (CZE), 7. Peter Besenyei (HUN), 8. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 9. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 10. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 11. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 12. Michael Goulian (USA)

World Championship Standings: 1. Arch (30 points), 2. Bonhomme (25), 3. Lamb (17), 4. McLeod (17), 5. Hall (14), 6. Sonka (8), 7, Muroya (7), 8. Ivanoff (5), 9. Dolderer (4), 10. Besenyei (2)