Will we see history repeating today with Bonhomme making a break for the top step of the podium at the season opener? Or will it be a completely new chapter for our pilots?
- Matt Hall after Training Day
"It was a good way to end the day. I'm still only at 99% with the aircraft. It doesn't fit like a glove yet, so I'm not pushing it all the way – and maybe that's why I'm getting the good results because I'm not stressed. The winglets are making a difference though."
"I enjoyed today, and when I enjoy my flying, I fly well. I'm flying consistently fast. I get worried when other people are posting fast times, but they aren't being as consistent."
We're all set for the final Training run ahead of Qualifying... first out on the track will be Nigel Lamb!
And it's a DNF for Lamb for exceeding maximum G! Not how he would have wanted to kick off today's action!
We're waiting for Hannes Arch to enter the track. Conditions are good - wind around 3-6 knots and temperature currently 29.4C at the Corniche
A penalty for incorrect level flying at Gate 3 AND Gate 10 plus a pylon hit has added 6 seconds to Arch's time. That will upset the Austrian pilot who's had a pretty flawless run in Training so far!
Arch - 01:03.174
Paul Bonhomme perhaps flying too close to the edge – a penalty for incorrect level flying at Gate 3 earns him an extra 2s.
Bonhomme - 00:59.232
What's going on out there?! Ivanoff picks up three penalties to post 01:04.052
Mike Mangold says wind conditions are stable, yet two out of three pilots have pylon hits and all three that have flown so far have incurred penalties.
Pushing too hard, too fast in the season opener? Or just testing their limits?
Lamb: Fortune favours the bold, but it didn't work out for me on two counts
Penalty for McLeod too but he knocks Bonhomme off the top of the timesheets.
McLeod - 00:59.040
Reports coming in indicate that the wind is coming in from the North West today, making for a totally different track for the pilots out there this afternoon
Live from the race hangars, Bonhomme comments:
It's a beautiful day for flying, no turbulence, no wind and I think that's what is catching people out... the conditions are too smooth. I'm feeling very relaxed and just made a schoolboy error at Gate 3.
Two pylon hits for Hall in quick succession and it's a Safety Climb Out for the Australian... we're hearing reports that Hall's engine is too hot so it's safety first, all the way.
Hall - SCO
Another comment from Lamb, live from the race hangars:
If there was no clock this track would be easy to fly. But it’s difficult to get a better line or get closer to the pylon. I need to back off just a bit in Qualifying.
Strong words from Hannes Arch:"We are just sloppy pilots, the wind changed and it's obvious, but I underestimated this... it's a really completely different angle and that's the wind – it changes the track. We all didn't prepare enough. We have to run through the track 10-12 times and it just becomes habit.
Dolderer is following suit as he gets two incorrect level flying penalties and a pylon hit too... it's like they're all flying this track for the first time today.
Dolderer - 01:04.143
We're only halfway through the MC training - so many pylon hits and it's a lot of work for the racetrack ops.
Mike Mangold comments that it's all down to major miscalculations on the pilots' part...
Pete McLeod comment live from the race hangar:
The wind has changed and I hit the same pylon as the other pilots. As I turned I drifted towards it Im going to have to readjust.
Sonka is out on the track and it's two pylon hits and an incorrect level flying so an extra six seconds to add to his time... yet incredibly he's currently in fourth position overall. We learned last season to expect the unexpected...
Sonka - 01:03.885
Hall comments live from the race hangars:
The wind is in completely the opposite direction... yesterday I flew a really tight line around the turn and I think everyone saw that and is trying the same...
Yoshi Muroya takes to the track and it's another pylon hit. But with only one penalty he moves into third position overall.
Muroya - 01:02.025
Mangold claims it's the S turn at the back of the track that's catching the pilots out and they seem to be trying to figure out what's happening back there...
First it was Gate 3 then 4 causing problems for the pilots, now everyone is having trouble with Gate 5
Kirby Chambliss up next. There have been no clean runs yet - Bonhomme is the only pilot so far to not have hit a pylon, but he did suffer a penalty
Matt Hall speaks to our race reporter about his Safety Climb Out (SCO):It was best for me to just get out of there. two pylon hits gate after gate, it was silly for me to stay out there, so it as time to come in and concentrate on Qualifying
More from Hannes Arch in the race hangars:
It was a stupid mistake. It’s hard you want to keep the line, but you know you need to adjust it. But after 12-15 runs along the same line, it’s hard to tell your head to change it.