Ascot anguish for Arch in Round of 8

Bitter disappointment for the Austrian as title hopes disappear due to DNS

Hannes Arch in Ascot

A tense and nail-biting Round of 14 saw Bonhomme grab the fastest loser spot from under Goulian's nose, after Arch put in the performance of the week in a super-fast, precise and aggressive run in the track. But for the Austrian, the Round of 8 was a devastating blow to his bid for the World Championship.

For the next round of knock-out heats, the pilots faced off once again to earn a spot in the coveted Final 4. Here are the highlights from each heat:

One of the most evenly matched heats of the day saw Japan's Yoshi Muroya renew his efforts for a spot in the race for the podium. Speed and precision were the order of the day for Muroya as he stormed ahead, knocking off a second from his Round of 14 time and grabbing a 1:06.706 and setting the standard for a stellar round of racing. Besenyei had a real challenge on his hands, with the experienced Hungarian putting his faith in his faster, more powerful Edge 540 V3. Tighter lines and high Gs had Besenyei putting in a great performance, but despite his best efforts and a huge improvement from the Hungarian, the split times stayed in the red.

Ivanoff headed into the Round of 8 hoping for a repeat of his Ascot 2014 success, with the land-based course favouring Ivanoff's elegant style and penchant for technical flying. A clean and error-free run earned Ivanoff a 1:08.088, but it was a little on the cautious side and Sonka had another opportunity to make his bid for the Ascot podium. The Czech seemed to take a longer path through the racetrack and the splits were still in the red by a significant margin. Sonka saw his hopes slip away as he remained off the pace. Heat 9 marked the first big upset of the Round of 8 as Sonka fell out of contention and Ivanoff grabbed his spot in the Final 4.

Despite massive frustration in the first knock-out rounds of Race Day, Nigel Lamb was handed another golden opportunity to wow the home crowd in the Round of 8. It was an MXS-R matchup as the British pilot was pitched against Hall, with pilot skill coming to the fore in Heat 10. A massive surge in performance for Lamb saw him dig deep and clock in 1:06.993, putting the pressure on his Australian counterpart. But Hall is always up for a challenge and the former military pilot answered Lamb with a storming run in the track. Faster rolls, an aggressive performance and a clear hunger for the win earned him a 1:06.531 and a ticket to the Final 4.

Heat 11 presented possibly the biggest challenge of the season for Bonhomme, as the cool Brit dialled it in for the final head to head in the Round of 8. Smooth and aggressive, Bonhomme found the sweet spot in the track as his clean run earned him a 1:06.542. But in a shock turn of events, technical issues settled the score for the most anticipated heat of the day. Arch sat helpless on the grid as his technical team frantically attempted to get his Edge 540 fired up. It was a fruitless endeavour and Race Director Steve Jones regrettably called an official Did Not Start (DNS) result for a clearly devastated Hannes Arch.

Muroya, Ivanoff, Hall and Bonhomme progress to the Final 4. Here are the official results for the Round of 8: