VIDEO ALERT: Šonka wins in Texas to seize Red Bull Air Race title

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Czech delivers perfect final run to complete impressive comeback in 2018.

Martin Šonka won the first Red Bull Air Race World Championship of his career and the first for his native Czech Republic after clinching victory at the final stop of the year in Texas. Here is all you need to know:

–  The season finale played out in front of 20,000 fans at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, USA.

–  For the second year in a row, the title race came down to the final flight of the season. US Pilot Michael Goulian was defending the overall lead but suffered engine issues and was knocked out by Šonka in the Round of 8.

–  Šonka, who saw the title slip through his fingers in 2017, then held his nerve in the Final 4 against Australian Matt Hall, home favourite Kirby Chambliss and Ben Murphy of Great Britain to deliver a perfect run which clinched the title with a time of 52.796.

–  Hall took second in the race with Chambliss from Texas completing the podium.

–  Hall also secured second spot in the overall title standings ahead of Goulian in third.

–  The win completes a remarkable comeback for Šonka after getting disqualification penalties at the season’s first two races.

–  Šonka said: “It’s a different story than last season, and it’s my biggest sporting achievement. Unfortunately, the only thing that I missed was having Mikey [Goulian] in the Final 4 as well, but it was a beautiful race and I think everyone, especially the Czech spectators, enjoyed it. For the last flight I managed to have a clear head. I heard that Matt [Hall] flew a super time, and I knew I had to push harder and definitely not do a penalty or mistake, and I managed. I cannot be happier.”

–  Hall said: “In the Round of 4 I had to beat Martin, and as he was flying after me I had to try and win the race. To be ranked on the podium four times of the Red Bull Air Race is good, but to not have won it yet is frustrating.”

–  Goulian added: “Martin was flying fast all week and I knew I had to fly on the limit. It has been an amazing year for my team and we will be back stronger next year. “

Results Master Class Race, Fort Worth 2018:
1. Martin Šonka (CZE), 2. Matt Hall (AUS), 3. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 4. Ben Murphy (GBR), 5. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN), 6. Mika Brageot (FRA), 7. Juan Velarde (ESP), 8. Michael Goulian (USA), 9. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 10. François Le Vot (FRA), 11. Pete McLeod (CAN), 12. Petr Kopfstein (CZE), 13. Matthias Dolderer (GER), 14. Cristian Bolton (CHI)

Final standings, 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship:
1.Martin Šonka (CZE) 80 points,  2. Matt Hall (AUS) 75 pts, 3. Michael Goulian (USA) 73 pts, 4. Mika Brageot 41 pts, 5. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 40 pts, 6. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 34 pts, 7. Ben Murphy (GBR) 29 pts, 8. Pete McLeod (CAN)

Red Bull Air Race 2018 Calendar
2-3 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
20-22 April: Cannes, France
26-27 May: Chiba, Japan
23-24 June: Budapest, Hungary
25-26 August: Kazan, Russia
15-16 September: Wiener Neustadt, Austria
6-7 October: Indianapolis, USA
17-18 November: Fort Worth, USA

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