Tight Fight For Red Bull Air Race Podium in Austria

Martin Sonka had the edge and took home the gold in Austria, his third for the season. Armin Walcher/Red Bull Content Pool

Less than a second separated the final four racers who all had penalty-free runs on the Weiner Neustadt Red Bull Air Race course. For the third race in a row, Czech pilot Martin Sonka snagged the top spot on the podium, increasing his lead in the fight for the World Championship trophy. But last year’s World Champion, Yoshihide Muroya of Japan, was only 0.04 seconds behind, followed by Australian Matt Hall and Mika Brageot from France.

Michael Goulian, who has had a terrific season so far, had a problem at one of the air gates that produced a 2-second penalty and dropped him out of the competition in the Round of 14. The result meant that Goulian collected zero points in the race. “My plan for the next two races is just to do what we’ve been doing,” Goulian said after the race. “This race was just an anomaly, just a blip in the road. Yoshi (Muroya) said last year, when he won the World Championship, they planned on zero points at two races, so I think if we can stick to that plan, we still have a shot at this year’s World Championship and that’s the goal.” Goulian is now in third with 55 points, three points behind second place contender Matt Hall.

While not impossible, it will be a tough challenge for Muroya, now in fourth, to kick Goulian off the podium at the end of the season. The two are separated by 21 points. The winner of each race takes home 15 points and the points are scaled down to one point for the contender in the 10th position. Sonka is now in the lead with 64 points. “It’s still not the end, there are still 30 points on the table, so a lot of work in front of us – two big battles until the end of the Championship,” said Sonka.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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