A consistent and disciplined performance from Arch in the Final 4 has earned the Austrian victory in Hungary with 59.350
The temperatures were soaring in the Hungarian capital, and no more so than in the cockpits of the Final 4 pilots as they prepared for the last and most important runs in the racetrack over the Danube. With a seemingly untouchable Matt Hall out in a shock turn of events in the Round of 14, the door was open for McLeod, Arch, Bonhomme and Sonka to take victory at the fourth stop of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
McLeod was first out on the track in the Final 4, and the Canadian was flying full throttle as he stormed under the iconic Chain Bridge. Despite clean flying and an error-free performance, the Canadian couldn't quite rekindle the pace from the previous round, finishing with 1:01.113.
Sceond into the track was Hannes Arch, who had been showing the same discipline and momentum that had earned him the win in Rovinj. A blistering time of 59.350 and a punch to the air in the cockpit confirmed Arch's reaction to his controlled and clean run that propelled him into the top spot in the timesheets.
The third turn in the track belonged to Arch's long-term rival, Paul Bonhomme. Bonhomme's Edge was just off pace, and as the Brit passed through Gate 9 the split times were in the red and second lap efficiency was vital for the former World Champion. With two gates to go Bonhomme couldn't find the 0.2s he needed to surpass Arch at the top of the timesheets, clocking in at 59.557. It was ultimately up to Czech pilot Martin Sonka as the last man to fly to snatch the podium top spot from the Austrian.
Sonka was clearly hungry for a podium finish, as demonstrated by and a super-aggressive performance from the ex-military pilot. Arch's time seemed to be just out of reach, and a momentary stall in a vertical turn proved to be a costly mistake for Sonka, who finished with 1:00.658 and a third place finish overall in Budapest.
"I didn't like my flight in the Final 4, my flight in the Round of 8 was better – but I was still on the podium so I'm happy," Sonka said.
Here are the official results from the Masters Final 4 and the fourth round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship:
"Budapest is a great race, I've now won here twice, and it was where I first won my first ever Red Bull Air Race. I'm already looking forward to coming back," Arch explained after the podium celebrations.
The Budapest results see Paul Bonhomme retain his lead in the World Championship standings by a clear five points, while Matt Hall slips into third place overall behind Hannes Arch, both with 29 points apiece.
Revisit the full fix of Budapest racing with video and blog coverage right here!
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship returns for the fifth round at Ascot, UK on 15-16 August.