“It’s special,” said Arch, clearly moved by the support from the Austrian supporters and his family as well as his recovery from a dismal 11th place two weeks ago in Chiba, Japan. “We started slowly here this week in training but I realized my lines were good and I tried to focus on my game and not anyone else. I’m really happy to win in Croatia in front of so many fans.
It was also a special race for Sonka, who also had a lot of supporters from nearby Czech Republic. Defending champion Nigel Lamb (GBR) finished a disappointed fifth
Taking in all the racing action was Felix Baumgartner, who captured the world's attention in 2012 when he became the first person to accelerate through the sound barrier in freefall, reaching a top speed of 1,357.6 km/h (Mach 1.25) after jumping from a balloon 38.9 kilometers above the earth. The Austrian, who has known pilots Arch and Hungary’s Peter Besenyei for years, got a bird's-eye view of the racing while piloting a helicopter for photographers.
In an indication of the increasing competitiveness, the top five pilots had posted times in Qualifying on Saturday within a quarter of a second of each other and in the race on Sunday there were a number of head-to-head battles decided by tiny fractions of a second.
Earlier on Sunday, Daniel Ryfa of Sweden won the season's third race in the Challenger Cup series, which is designed to give the next generation of pilots the chance to develop their low-altitude flying skills under racing conditions. Mikael Brageot of France took second and Cristian Bolton of Chile was third.
In the Red Bull Air Race, which is the official world championship of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the world's top pilots hit speeds of 370 km/h while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate as precisely as possible through a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter high air-filled pylons