At the weekend Martin Sonka became only the fourth pilot in Red Bull Air Race history to win three races in a row when he took the title in Wiener Neustadt.
Mike Mangold, Hannes Arch and Paul Bonhomme are the only other pilots to achieve such a feat, and those three share six title wins between them, so Sonka is now in an elite category.
After this win, Sonka now sits at the top of the championship standings. He is six points clear of Matt Hall in second and nine points ahead of Michael Goulian with just two races to go. Sonka was in this position last year, and lost out on the title in the final run of the season, so he knows the pain of losing, but he seems a lot calmer this season, even after asking him about winning three races on the bounce. "It's a big thing for us and we're super happy," said Sonka. "We enjoyed the race and every pilot flew really well, it was a tight race that was nice for the spectators"
Sonka has had an up and down season so far. He began with two DQs and has now come back stronger, but Sonka really enjoyed this most recent race. "Some races I don't like to watch again when I'm back home, but this one will be one of the races where I will sit down and watch with my family. Especially the Final 4 as I was so tight – it was amazing," he said.
Round six in Wiener Neustadt was almost a home race for Sonka and Petr Kopfstein. It was just 160kms from the Czech border and thousands of fans made the pilgrimage to see their heroes fly. Does it spur the pilots on or does it add pressure? "It works both ways," said Sonka. "It's a huge support with energy coming from the crowds and it's incredible to see our fans cheering for me and Petr [Kopfstein]. On the other hand there's extra pressure, because we know the fans come to see us win and we know that if we get knocked out in the Round of 14 they wouldn't be happy. So I'm pleased for us and for them as they probably got the best present for the journey they had to travel!"
After this win Sonka is leading, just like last year, but as we all know, the title went to Yoshihide Muroya after the last Final 4 of the season, so Sonka had lessons to learn. "I learned that anything can happen in the Red Bull Air Race, especially in the heat of the moment," he explained. "There are three pilots in the running this year, and we're so close. So I know that even before the final heat of the season it's too early to think of winning the World Championship.
"There are still 30 points on the table and we want to enjoy every race and concentrate on the next flight that's in front of us. We'll see how the season ends up," concluded Sonka.
With Indianapolis up next, Sonka will be looking to become the first pilot in Red Bull Air Race history to win four in a row. You can see for yourself if he's able to do it on 06-07 October, get your tickets HERE.