It's been a tough season so far for Martin Sonka and his team, out of the four races he's been Disqualified twice and lost points, but now he's back and found his form at the perfect time.
Budapest is seen as the make or break race for pilots. It's the last chance to push for the World Championship title. So for Martin Sonka to take the win and close the gap on Matt Hall and Michael Goulian, he can push forward to try and win the title.
The race in Hungary is also seen as a home race for Sonka as many Czech fans come to line up along the Danube to watch their hero, and Sonka knows that.
"It was incredible. It's definitely a home race for us," said Sonka. "There was huge energy from the crowd coming into the cockpit the whole race, the support is incredible, but to be honest it is extra pressure, so you don't want to upset all these people by getting a DQ in the Round of 14."
Due to Matthias Dolderer having to withdraw from the race due to illness and Sonka winning Qualifying, he had to fly his Round of 14 heat unopposed. "It was tough in the Round of 14, I'd rather have to fly against someone than just myself. I can handle that feeling, me being an opponent to myself is something I'm not used to," explained Sonka.
The writing was on the wall for a Team Sonka win when he topped Qualifying on the Saturday, but there are no points for winning Qualifying. "Winning the Quali is great, but Sunday is the important day. So it's more important to think about flying you still have to do rather than thinking about the Qualifying victory."
This is Sonka first race win since Porto in 2017, when he was runner up at the end of the season, and now he's third but on the hunt for Michael Goulian and Matt Hall. "I'm pleased we've cut the gap between Matt and Mikey, which was our goal. 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," said Sonka
Although Sonka won, he didn't have it all his own way, he and his team had to work hard all through the days. "We've had a lot of tech issues, and every member of the team was working hard for this moment. It's amazing how it can be so tough, even between the rounds we were struggling with the raceplane, and the whole team had to work."
The next race takes place in Kazan and represents the start of the second half of the season and Sonka wants another win, but he's going to be busy until the race. "We're now in the middle of the season and all four races we've been in the Final 4, unfortunately we were DQ'd out of the first two, which cost us a lot of points. We know we can fly fast, but we know other pilots can fly faster. Sometimes it's a game of nerves and how concentrated you are, but I know how it feels to be close. I remember last year well. But all I can do as a professional athlete is to make sure I'm concentrated for every flight, and not think about the other pilots or the pressure. We have a lot of data and things to analyse and that will give us some more information for us to be better prepared for Kazan and we'll see where we are at the end of the season," he concluded.
The Kazan race takes place on 25-26 August, get your tickets HERE.