Šonka wins Budapest “home” race as Hall takes Air Race lead

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Czech pilot triumphs in front of 135,000 fans over the famous Danube river.

Czech Republic pilot Martin Šonka claimed his first Red Bull Air Race win of the 2018 season at his “home” race in Budapest as Australian Matt Hall secured the overall lead. Here is all you need to know:

– The Hungarian capital packed 135,000 enthusiastic spectators alongside the famous Danube river to see the world’s best acrobatic pilots race off against each other.

– The elite field had to navigate the usual barriers as well as fly under the iconic Chain Bridge.

– Budapest is only an hour’s flight from Šonka’s base in the Czech Republic so he had extra motivation to perform and he began by qualifying top on Saturday.

– Sunday was hard fought with Šonka pipping Mika Brageot, the youngest Air Race pilot, in the Final 4 by 0.347s with Hall and American Michael Goulian behind.

– The young Frenchman earned his first podium, while Hall sealed the overall lead by two points from Goulian heading into the next August stop in Kazan, Russia.

– Šonka finished second behind Yoshihide Muroya in the 2017 championship, but endured a tough 2018 start after technical disqualifications in the first two races.

– The 40-year-old revealed: “It’s incredible. There was huge energy from the crowd coming into the cockpit the whole race and I can tell you it’s a beautiful view from the top of the podium. I love it every time. It’s very important, because this is the middle of the season and it was crucial to stay in contact with the top pilots.”

Budapest Master Class result:
1. Martin Šonka (CZE), 2. Mika Brageot (FRA), 3. Matt Hall (AUS), 4. Michael Goulian (USA), 5. François Le Vot (FRA), 6. Cristian Bolton (CHI), 7. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 8. Ben Murphy (GBR), 9. Petr Kopfstein (CZE), 10. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 11. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 12. Pete McLeod (CAN), 13. Juan Velarde (ESP), 14. Matthias Dolderer (GER)

World Championship standings after four races:
1. Matt Hall (AUS) 45 points, 2. Michael Goulian (USA) 43 pts, 3. Martin Šonka (CZE) 34 pts 4. Mika Brageot (FRA) 27 pts, 5. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 19 pts, 6. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 15 pts, 7. François Le Vot (FRA) 15 pts, 8. Pete McLeod (CAN) 11 pts, 9. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 10 pts, 10. Juan Velarde (ESP) 9 pts, 11. Ben Murphy (GBR) 9 pts, 12. Petr Kopfstein (CZE) 8 pts, 13. Cristian Bolton (CHI) 6 pts, 14. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 5 pts

About Red Bull Air Race
Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has held more than 80 races around the globe. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 370 kmh while enduring forces of up to 12G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.


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