Sonka Dominates Opposition In Free Practice
If anyone was in doubt of Martin Sonka’s intentions before today’s Free Practice sessions, they will now be sure that the World Champion is here to win and retain the title.
The Czech pilot put pressure on his rivals by topping the timesheets in FP1 and 2. In both sessions he was last to fly and knew the times he needed to beat, which he duly did.
In the earlier session Juan Velarde set the pace, stopping the clock at 56.156s and it looked like the Spaniard was going to keep the fastest time, especially after other championship frontrunners couldn’t come close. That was until Sonka took to the skies and shaved 0.790s off Velarde’s time, pushing him down to second.
Third in FP1 was François Le Vot who was third to fly, so would have had a nervous wait watching the remaining pilots enter the track. Behind him was Michael Goulian in fourth, 1.355s away from Sonka. Championship contender Matt Hall was down in fifth, with fellow title chaser Yoshihide Muroya one step below.
Mika Brageot was in seventh with a time of 57.210s, and just behind him Pete McLeod and Nicolas Ivanoff clocked in eighth and ninth respectively in FP1. 2016 World Champion Matthias Dolderer finished 10th.
There was bad luck for Cristian Bolton who was unable to fly today due to technical issues with his raceplane He and his team are working to ensure that the Edge is repaired on time for Qualifying tomorrow.
Sonka was even quicker in the latter session, shaving 0.097s off his FP1 time and yet again that run saw Velarde pushed down into second, however Velarde was only 0.284s behind the Czech champ.
Hall was another pilot to improve; he pushed his way up to third in FP2 with a time of 56.052s, followed by Brageot in fourth. Muroya also moved up the timesheet, finishing fifth in FP2, 1.403s behind Sonka. The Japanese pilot will want to close the deficit if he’s to reclaim the title.
Ben Murphy and Michael Goulian, the other two pilots with an outside chance of taking the title, will need to work hard to make their dream a reality as they found themselves down in 11th and 12th respectively. However, the two title contenders will have tomorrow’s FP3 session before Qualifying.
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