Sonka storms to first win in Abu Dhabi

Czech pilot finishes the season opener in epic style

Sonka wins in Abu Dhabi

Martin Sonka flew one of the quickest times of the day to win his first Red Bull Air Race at the season opener in Abu Dhabi.

Juan Velarde also made the Final 4 for the first time and didn't squander his opportunity finishing in second, to claim his first podium of his Master Class career. Pete McLeod took the final position on the podium, with Matthias Dolderer just missing out due to a penalty.

After a turbulent 2016, which included three DQs, Sonka has come back fighting and thrown down a marker for the 2017 season.

McLeod was first to fly and set the pace for the Final 4. He posted 54.632s and was visibly pleased in the cockpit with his time, but probably knew it wouldn't be enough to win.

It was then Sonka's turn and he was 1.493s faster than McLeod, which meant he was sitting on the top spot. Next to go was the World Champion. However, Dolderer finished 0.088s slower than Sonka, which would've been enough for him to finish second, but in Gate 14 he picked up a penalty for incorrect level flying and that saw him slip down the timesheet.

Last through the track was Velarde who knew what he had to do if he was to get on the podium. His flight was perfect, and although he couldn't quite beat Sonka, it was fast enough to finish second.

Master Class Final 4 Results

Master Class World Championship standings