Sonka Needs To Keep It Clean In Chiba
When Martin Sonka took the World Championship title in Fort Worth last year, it was largely due to his fantastic performance in the second half of the season. The Czech pilot won four of the last five races, a winning record that could be attributed to his ability to fly cleanly.
Sonka made it into the Final 4 in two other races in 2018. The first was Abu Dhabi – his time would have seen him finish third, but a technical infringement resulted in a DQ and a fourth place finish.
In Chiba, Sonka had flown almost perfectly for the entire week, collecting only two penalties in 12 runs through the track. The ice-cool racer flew the second fastest time in the Round of 8 and the third fastest in the Round of 14, so confidence for a winning result was high as he headed into the Final 4.
However, at Gate 7 in his Final 4, Sonka collected a two second penalty for incorrect level flying. The penalty saw him slip from second to third. Sonka could have collected a fourth place finish, but Pete McLeod made the exact same mistake, handing Sonka a podium finish.
Matt Hall took the win in Chiba last year and this is where it becomes interesting for the final race of the season…
Sonka is currently leading the championship by four points ahead of Hall, and has yet to win a race this season. So far he’s collected a second in Abu Dhabi, a third in Kazan, plus two Qualifying points and then fourth in Lake Balaton, with three Qualifying points.
Hall, on the other hand, seems to have gone the other way. He finished fifth in Abu Dhabi, second in Kazan and first in Balaton. History seems to be in Hall’s favour right now. Before Balaton, four of his six wins had come back-to-back. Having taken win in Hungary, Hall seems to be well placed to go on to take the win in Chiba, where he won last year.
In Balaton, Sonka snagged a pylon in the Final 4 and added three seconds to his time – a very unusual mistake for the reigning champ. For the title contenders, it's all about flying cleanly in the Final 4. If the results are the same in Chiba this year as last, then Hall will take the title by just a single point, whereas if Sonka flies cleanly in the Final 4 and finishes second instead of third, still behind Hall, he’ll take the title and become the first back-to-back champion since Paul Bonhomme in 2010.
What ever happens it’s going to be a race you can’t afford to miss. Get your tickets HERE.