30 Kvě 2015

Martin looks forward to Rovinj race after strong 5th in Qualifying

Red Bull Air Race, Rovinj No Comments

ROVINJ, Croatia – Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic grabbed a strong fifth place in Qualifying on Saturday for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship race in Rovinj, Croatia on Sunday. The former Czech Air Force fighter pilot flew well in the difficult, wind-swept track set up in the Adriatic Sea just off the coast of Rovinj and posted a time that was just a fraction of a second slower than the fastest Qualifier Paul Bonhomme of Britain. Sonka is hoping to get the second podium of his career after taking third place at the final race of the 2014 season in Spielberg, Austria – not far from the racecourse in Rovinj.

„I would like to score a place on the podium,“ said Sonka. „We are almost on the top but we have to show this in the race on Sunday.“ Sonka, who has flown well in training ahead of the Qualifying session, is looking forward to heavy support from fans from the nearby Czech Republic.

The competition on the challenging track in the Adriatic Sea just off the coast of Rovinj was intense and the top five pilots finished within 0.206 seconds of each other. Sonka’s time was fifth in 54.472 and just off the pace set by Bonhomme, who stopped the clock in 54.266. There was a total of 18 pylon hits in the difficult, windswept course.

„The winds are a big factor,“ said Sonka. „The air moves us away from the gates and especially the high winds are difficult. We tried to prepare for this.“

Bonhomme pulled off a dramatic last-gasp victory in Qualifying to win pole position. In one of the tightest Qualifying battles ever the two-time champion, he was trailing Muroya at the third of four intervals before opening up the throttle in the final sector to just beat Muroya in his new Edge 540 V3 airplane.

„I wasn’t happy when I heard the time of my run, but then I saw how the others were doing,“ Sonka added. „The head-to-head is a game of luck, nobody is slow anymore. Tomorrow I plan to fly the same as I did today. I want to stay calm and concentrate on my flying. I’ve lost too many championship points this season by getting “

Qualifying Results: 1. Paul Bonhomme (GBR) 54.266, 2. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 54.305, 3. Matt Hall (AUS) 54.329, 4. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 54.360, 5. Martin Sonka (CZE) 54.472, 6. Hannes Arch (AUT) 55.205, 7. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 56.098, 8. Michael Goulian (USA) 57.541, 9. Peter Besenyei (HUN) 57.714, 10. Juan Velarde (ESP) 57.788, 11. Francois Le Vot (FRA) 59.032, 12. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 59.583, 13. Pete McLeod (CAN) 59.592, 14. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 59.772