19 Říj 2015

Sonka stumbles in Las Vegas but holds onto 4th place

Las Vegas, Red Bull Air Race No Comments

LAS VEGAS (USA) – Martin Sonka’s hot streak in the Red Bull Air Race came to an end in Las Vegas on Sunday when the former Czech Air Force fighter pilot fell to eighth place after getting knocked out in the Round of 8 on a penalty-marred run. But Sonka finished the season in fourth place overall in a 14-pilot field, a strong improvement from 2014 when he was eighth out of 12 pilots.

„It’s very disappointing because we analysed the data from Qualifying and looked at the mistakes,“ he said. „I eliminated those in the Round of 14. In the Round of 8 it was a strange situation for me. I was told that the wind was blowing one way, but it was actually blowing the other. That’s what caused the pylon hit. And I was trying really hard because I was up against Matt (Hall), and that’s why I got the other penalty.“

Sonka had two podiums this year, twice as many as last year, and got into the Final Four in four of the eight races. He had a total of 29 championship points, which was 11 more than the 18 in 2014.

Sonka got nine championship points for second place in Rovinj, Croatia and seven points for third in Budapest — his best races of the season. He also made it to the Final Four in Spielberg, Austria and Fort Worth, Texas.

„It just goes to show you that consistency is important for the whole championship,“ said Sonka, who unfortunately got zero points in the first two races in Abu Dhabi and Chiba, Japan and just two points in Ascot, England and only one point for eighth in Las Vegas.

Britain’s Paul Bonhomme won the World Championship after taking second on Sunday behind Australia’s Matt Hall, who won his second race this season. It was Bonhomme’s third championship, in his 10th season after the British ace won the title 2009 and 2010. Bonhomme, who had to overcome technical problems just before the final race, ended up with 76 world championship points, just five ahead of Hall on 71 with Austria’s Hannes Arch third overall with 34 points.

“It’s amazing, just amazing,” said a sweat-drenched Bonhomme, who had four wins and seven podiums in the eight races this season and scored a record-breaking 76 championship points. “ It was the toughest World Championship I’ve ever had. It was hard work.”

Hungary’s Peter Besenyei, one of the most successful pilots in the history of the race with eight career victories, announced that he was retiring from the sport he helped create in 2003. Besenyei, 59, won the title in the inaugural season in 2003.

RESULTS, LAS VEGAS: 1. Matt Hall (AUS), 2. Paul Bonhomme (GBR), 3. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 4. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 5. Hannes Arch (AUT), 6. Michael Goulian (USA), 7. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 8. Martin Sonka (CZE), 9. Juan Velarde (ESP), 10. Nigel Lamb (GBR), 11. Pete McLeod (CAN), 12. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 13. Peter Besenyei (HUN), 14. François Le Vot (FRA)

FINAL 2015 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1. Bonhomme (GBR) 76 point, 2. Hall (AUS) 71, 3. Arch (AUT) 34, 4. Sonka (CZE) 29, 5. Dolderer (GER) 26, 6. Muroya (JPN) 23, 7. Lamb (GBR) 20, 8. McLeod (CAN) 19, 9. Ivanoff (FRA) 15, 10. Goulian (USA) 13, 11. Chambliss (USA) 9, 12. Besenyei (HUN) 8, 13. Velarde (ESP), 14. Le Vot (FRA)