Bonhomme and Hall continue title chase

Bonhomme continues his bid for the World Champion title

Bonhomme goes into the Final 4 in Fort Worth

Nigel Lamb had raised the bar in the Round of 14 with a new track record, and posed a new threat to both Hall and Bonhomme for those 12 maximum points desperately needed for the World Championship rankings ahead of the final stop of the season. But it was more of a familiar story as Bonhomme and Hall continued their rivalry in the race for the World Champion title.

The Round of 8 provided plenty of action, with Paul Bonhomme progressing and free to make his bid for another full-throttle finish. In the final knock-out heat of the day, Matt Hall held on, pushing hard and hot on Bonhomme's heels.

Heat 8 - Sonka vs Lamb
Martin Sonka once again kicked out the knock-out action and after a promising performance in the Round of 14, Sonka was going all-out for a place in the Final 4. but a scrappy performance and overbanking at Gate 8 added 2s to Sonka's final time of 58.046, giving Lamb an extra boost and a golden opportunity for his first Final 4 this season. The Breitling Racing Team pilot posted green sector times and pushed hard, looking to just scrape through. But after a stellar Round of 14, the bid for a season-best Final 4 finish was dashed thanks to an incorrect level flying at the Finish Gate. Lamb clocked in with 1:00.003 overall, leaving the Czech pilot free to progress to the last round of the day.

Heat 9 - Bonhomme vs McLeod
Bonhomme was out first to set the pace in Heat 9, and despite a moment of uncertainty with wings level, it was a more aggressive performance from the British pilot with 56.452. McLeod had flown faster than Bonhomme's time twice during the week, and could potentially cause the biggest upset of the stop. The Canadian was looking to go full throttle but needed to keep it textbook and clean. The first split times were just 0.077 off Bonhomme's pace but it was all over too soon with a call to knock it off, as he exceeded maximum G in the first vertical turn and picked up a DNF result.

Heat 10 - Ivanoff vs Muroya
Ivanoff has a history of pulling out great performances in the shorter, faster and more technical tracks, but the Frenchman couldn't retain focus, bookending his run in the track with penalties. He picked up an extra second for exceeding the start speed limit, followed shortly after by a pylon hit at the Finish Gate and finished with 1:00.334 on the clock, including 4s overall in penalties. Japan's Yoshi Muroya was Ivanoff's heat rival, and appeared to be flying more on the edge in this second knock-out round. The sector times stayed firmly in the green, thanks in part to Ivanoff's penalties, and Muroya stormed through with a controlled but speedy 57.477.

Heat 11 - Hall vs Dolderer
Having just scraped through as fastest loser in the Round of 14, Hall had everything to prove in the last knock-out heat of the day. It was another difficult match up, with Dolderer on point at Fort Worth and ready to take that last place in the Final 4. Hall's aim was smooth, precise and controlled flying but he was flying on the limit and managed a penalty-free performance and a good, competitive time of 56.290, firmly throwing down the gauntlet for Dolderer. The German was ready to answer, confident and hungry for a podium. The start speed was on the money, and he found a half second on Hall's time in the second sector. But the lead slipped from his grasp just as quickly as he had gained it, and the red light stayed in place as he made one last desperate sprint for the Finish Gate.

Sonka, Bonhomme, Muroya and Hall progress to the Final 4.