05 Zář 2015

Sonka confident for Spielberg after Qualifying rained out

Red Bull Air Race, Spielberg No Comments

Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic is looking forward to Sunday’s Red Bull Air Race in Spielberg as an opportunity to narrow the gap to Austria’s Hannes Arch in third place in the overall standings. Arch, the local hero, is hoping to catch overall leader Paul Bonhomme after Qualifying on Saturday was cancelled due to inclement weather. The outlook for Sunday’s race is brighter.

SPIELBERG, Austria – Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic was confident of his chances of getting on the podium at the Red Bull Air Race in Spielberg, Austria on Sunday despite posting some disappointing times day in training on Friday. Sonka, who got the first of his three career podiums a year ago here in Austria, struggled with penalties in both training sessions on the difficult Alpine course set up at the Red Bull Ring and could do no better than 12th.

But Sunday’s starting order will be determined by overall championship standings after Qualifying was rained out. As the fourth pilot in the standings overall, Sonka will square off against Peter Besenyei of Hungary, who has been flying well in the last two races after getting his new Edge 540 V3 airplane. Besenyei has been sixth in the last two stops in Budapest and Ascot, England.

Arch, from the nearby town of Trofaiach, is also confident of his chances of winning his third Red Bull Air Race this season and putting the pressure on overall leader Paul Bonhomme of Britain after the Austrian ace posted some of the fastest times in training on Friday. Arch still holds the track record at the Red Bull Ring that he set a year ago and is counting on support from Austrian fans of his at the sixth of eight races this season in the world’s fastest motorsport series.

Saturday’s Qualifying session was cancelled due to rain and low clouds at the racetrack set up in the infield area of the Red Bull Ring. But good racing weather is forecast for Sunday’s race, the sixth stop in the eight-race championship. Bonhomme leads the world’s fastest motorsport series with 46 points with Hall (38) and Arch (30) trailing close behind. Sonka is fourth with 18 points.

„After consultation with our weather experts, we can see there is no possibility of holding a Qualifying round in Spielberg today,“ said Race Director Steve Jones. „We have to balance many factors when deciding whether to run a race session in the prevailing weather conditions and this was just not possible today.“

Spielberg, a tree-filled track set up on the infield of the Formula One race track, is considered by the pilots to be the most challenging on the circuit this year with its 61-meter altitude change on each of the two laps.

In the Red Bull Air Race, which is the official world championship of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the world’s top pilots endure forces of up to 10G as they navigate as precisely as possible through a low-level slalom track marked by 25-metre high air-filled pylons.