The Red Bull Air Race Committee has declared a Disqualification for pilot Martin Sonka following a post-race ruling when his raceplane was being inspected in Parc Fermé. It has been deemed that Red Bull Team Sonka made a technical infringement of the rules.
"The reason he has been Disqualified is due to improper ignition timing of the magnetos," explained Red Bull Air Race Technical Director Jim Reed. "We have a hard limit of 25-degrees of rotation before top dead-centre. Rather than being at 25 degrees BTDC, Team Sonka's magnetos were found to be timed at 28-degrees before top-dead-centre which is an advantage in horsepower," he added.
This ruling means the earlier third place result is now invalid and the team will now record a fourth place finish at the Abu Dhabi 2018 race, as a Disqualification can only be added to one flying session. This will apply to his result in the Final 4.
"From what we can determine it wasn't an intentional attempt to gain an advantage. If you run these magnetos for a number of hours their timing will drift as the magneto's internal components wear. As this happens the magnetos will drift more and more in the direction of advanced timing," said Reed. "So it seems that the team hadn't verified their timing, so when we inspected their raceplane in Parc Fermé we found the timing to be out of tolerance and thus the Disqualification was declared."
The team will lose two points, moving them to fourth place in the standings.