Šonka wins Budapest “home” race as Hall takes Air Race lead

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Czech pilot triumphs in front of 135,000 fans over the famous Danube river.

Czech Republic pilot Martin Šonka claimed his first Red Bull Air Race win of the 2018 season at his “home” race in Budapest as Australian Matt Hall secured the overall lead. Here is all you need to know:

– The Hungarian capital packed 135,000 enthusiastic spectators alongside the famous Danube river to see the world’s best acrobatic pilots race off against each other.

– The elite field had to navigate the usual barriers as well as fly under the iconic Chain Bridge.

– Budapest is only an hour’s flight from Šonka’s base in the Czech Republic so he had extra motivation to perform and he began by qualifying top on Saturday.

– Sunday was hard fought with Šonka pipping Mika Brageot, the youngest Air Race pilot, in the Final 4 by 0.347s with Hall and American Michael Goulian behind.

– The young Frenchman earned his first podium, while Hall sealed the overall lead by two points from Goulian heading into the next August stop in Kazan, Russia.

– Šonka finished second behind Yoshihide Muroya in the 2017 championship, but endured a tough 2018 start after technical disqualifications in the first two races.

– The 40-year-old revealed: “It’s incredible. There was huge energy from the crowd coming into the cockpit the whole race and I can tell you it’s a beautiful view from the top of the podium. I love it every time. It’s very important, because this is the middle of the season and it was crucial to stay in contact with the top pilots.”

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