Czech ! Martin Sonka wins Red Bull Air Race 2018


Martin Sonka won the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship after a thrilling final race in Fort Worth, Texas.

The pressure could not have been higher for the Czech pilot, who was the last to fly and had to win the race to win the overall championship.

“This race was incredible. It couldn’t end better than that, ”he said afterwards. “It was a great race with everything in it.”

He added: “By the time I entered the last flight, I had a clear mind. I knew Matt Hall had a fast run so I knew I had to push a little bit, and definitely not make any mistakes or penalties, and I did.

Sonka was one of the favorites to win, but as he entered the final stage of the 2018 Red Bull Air Race, the points spread meant that one of the three pilots could win and take home the championship title. world.

Matt Hall (AUS) and Michael Goulian (USA) both had a chance. But with Goulian eliminated in the semi-final of the eight, it was played on the wire for the last race of the day.

Hall flew first, putting in a perfect, clean and quick run, and sparked excitement from the crowd as he clocked a fast track time of 53.100 seconds.

A few minutes later, Sonka flew through the checkered flag start gates to begin her turn. Two perfect laps followed, with Sonka gaining ground on the crucial turn around Gate 7.

Seconds later, he crossed the start / finish gate to win the race and the title – just 0.204 seconds faster than Australian Hall.

“It was a perfect race,” he said moments after jumping from his cockpit into the hangars area of ​​Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. “The only thing I was missing was Mikey [Goulian] in the last four.

Martin Sonka wins Red Bull Air Race 2018

FAI Honorary President Frits Brink was on hand to present the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship trophy to Sonka. Medals and champagne quickly followed at the podium medal ceremony as the 2018 Red Bull Air Race season drew to a close.

Martin Sonka is a former Czech Air Force fighter pilot with extensive aerobatic experience, especially free aerobatics. He has been piloting the Red Bull Air Race for five seasons and placed second in 2017.

One of the best aerobatic pilots in the world, he is famous in his home country, the Czech Republic, far beyond the niche world of air sports enthusiasts.

Aged 40, he has been flying since his teenage years, learning to glide and parachute at the age of 17.

As a pilot in the Czech Air Force, he flew a supersonic jet fighter, JAS-39 Gripen, in the 211th Tactical Squadron and was a member of the prestigious Army Demonstration Team of the Czech air force piloting the L-159 ALCA. He also obtained a master’s degree from the Military Academy and the University of Pardubice.

Sonka’s aerobatic career began with gliders, then motor planes. Since joining the Czech aerobatic team in 2005, he has won numerous honors, including FAI general European vice-champion in the Unlimited category, two-time FAI vice-world champion in freestyle, twice FAI European Freestyle Champion, and six unlimited wins and six Czech Nationals Freestyle Championships.

  • 1 Martin Sonka (CZE)
  • 2 Matt Hall (AUS)
  • 3 Michael Goulian (United States)

In the cockpit: Martin Sonka above Texas Motor Speedway. Photo: Predrag Vuckovic / Red Bull Content Pool

Photo of the podium: Martin Sonka. Photo: Predrag Vuckovic / Red Bull Content Pool

Podium photo: Martin Sonka, center, celebrates with Matt Hall and Michael Goulian. Photo: Mihai Stetcu / Red Bull Content Pool

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