Previous Winners Talk Kazan Tactics
"It’s easy, you just need to be the fastest one!” Martin Sonka joked when asked what it takes to win in Kazan. Not an easy task! In just two visits to the Russian Sports Capital there have been more than 90 pylons knocked down. The current World Champion and Kirby Chambliss won here in 2018 and 2017 respectively, so they tell us what it takes to stand on that top step of the podium in Mother Russia.
“There are lots of places where you can make small mistakes, which will cost you big,” explained Sonka. "You have to stay concentrated and keep the energy in the raceplane.”
Chambliss – one of the most experienced pilots in the series – believes that the testing weather conditions helped him during the 2017 race. “When we won the first year, the conditions were not that good. And as I’ve said before, sometimes I do better when the conditions aren't good,” he remarked.
For this year, the track layout has changed with the addition of an extra VTM, just before the Finish Gate. Both Sonka and Chambliss believe this is where the race can be won or lost come Sunday.
“The track is very similar to last year,” said Sonka. “The extra pull up just before the Finish Gate makes the track even more attractive. This new VTM, just before the Finish Gate, will become one of the major decisive points in the track – you can lose it or win it in the final turn. There’s a good chance of a penalty or a DQ – so it’s going to be interesting for spectators and the pilots,” he added.
Sonka took the win in Kazan last year in the middle of his hot streak (four wins in five races) that ultimately saw him take the World Championship title. For 2019, the Czech pilot is returning to one of his favourite race locations – so is he feeling the pressure? “For me nothing has changed from last year. As a team we’ve had the same set up for a few years, everyone knows what everyone else is doing and how they can help each other – that’s definitely a strength of our team,” said Sonka. “Being World Champion means that you know you can beat anyone here, but it’s super tight, so staying calm is key. Being World Champion is a great feeling, but everyone wants to beat you,” he concluded.
Sonka and Chambliss will take on the 12 other Master Class pilots this weekend in Kazan. Tickets are still available. Get yours HERE.