Sonka Wins First Red Bull Race


The Czech Republic’s Martin Sonka won his first-ever Red Bull Air Race event Saturday in the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi. Sonka, who struggled to ninth place in the overall standings in 2016, blew away his competition on Saturday with a time of 53.139, beating second-place finisher Juan Velarde of Spain by 1.27 seconds. Canada’s Pete McLeod came third at 54.632 seconds. “I’ve finally won my first race, I feel good in my raceplane, and this of course gives me confidence for the future,” said Sonka. “This was a totally different start compared to last season, and hopefully it will continue this way.”

Mike Goulian of the U.S. came sixth and fellow American Kirby Chambliss was 11th. The race series will take a two-month break before returning to San Diego Apr. 15-16 before heading to Japan and Europe over the summer. The season wraps up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oct. 14-15.