07 Sep 2019

Red Bull Air Race: Sonka claims 2019 DHL Fastest Lap trophy

After Saturday’s Qualifying for the season finale of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Chiba, Japan, Martin Šonka (CZE) was awarded the 2019 DHL Fastest Lap Trophy in a special ceremony.

Since 2016, the DHL Fastest Lap Award has defined a new standard of speed in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. At each stop on the calendar, the award goes to the pilot who flies the fastest single lap in Qualifying. Then, at the season finale, the DHL Fastest Lap Trophy is presented to the pilot with the most awards across the season.

While Šonka had captured individual race awards in previous years, the DHL Fastest Lap Trophy for 2019 is his first overall honour in the category. Previous winners of the DHL Fastest Lap Trophy include Germany’s Matthias Dolderer(2016 and 2018) and Canada’s Pete McLeod (2017), and the battle for this year’s trophy was once again a close one. 

The trio of races leading up to this weekend’s season finale had seen three different winners of the DHL Fastest Lap Award: Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) in Abu Dhabi, UAE and Mika Brageot (FRA) in Kazan, Russia, before Šonka jumped into the fray at Lake Balaton, Hungary.

A blistering Qualifying lap in Chiba gave Šonka his second DHL Fastest Lap Award for 2019 and clinched the overall honor. Minutes later, Charles Kaufmann, President of DHL Global Forwarding Japan, presented him with the DHL Fastest Lap Trophy, which the pilot shared with his whole Red Bull Team Šonka crew.

“It’s great to get the DHL Fastest Lap Trophy for the season,” said an elated Šonka. “I’m just out of my cockpit – hot, exhausted and thinking about what was wrong in the run and where we can get a little faster – but I’m super happy about this award. It’s perfect!”

Tickets are still available for the final race in Chiba, Japan on Sunday, 8 September 2019, where the Red Bull Air Race World Champion will be crowned.

About Red Bull Air Race

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is an aerial motorsport series that demands a combination of speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, high performance raceplanes, pilots compete in iconic locations over water and land. The high speed, low altitude and extreme manoeuvrability required make it accessible only to the world's most exceptional pilots.

Flying just metres from the ground, 14 Master Class pilots race against the clock whilst reaching speeds of up to 370 km/h, requiring a combination of precision and skill unmatched in the world of aviation. Pilots must be in peak physical condition as they endure forces up to 12G while navigating the technical racetracks made up of air-filled pylons.

The Air Race was developed in 2003 and is accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), with more than 90 races completed across five continents. As the most advanced aerial challenge in existence, competing in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship is the highest accolade for elite pilots. The Challenger Cup feeder series was introduced in 2014.

Photo credit: Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool