Here's the order of flying for Practice 1:1. Podlunsek2. Kopfstein3. Le Vot4. Velarde5. Chambliss6. Goulian7. Ivanoff8. McLeod9. Lamb10. Muroya11. Dolderer12. Sonka13. Arch14. Hall
And Podlunsek is out on the track for FP1!
Not the start that Podlunsek will be looking for... he's racked up 6s of penalities: insufficient smoke, incorrect passing of a gate and a pylon hit.
The Slovenian will be nervous but he's got to keep his cool out there to get in some decent times.
He completes his second run in the Master Class and it's 1:07.913 for Podlunsek with 5 seconds of penalties: insufficient smoke, and two incorrect level flying penalties at Gate 4 and 6. Back to the hangars.
Petr Kopfstein will be out on the track next. It's his first proper run in the racetrack as a Master Class pilot so he'll be keen to be seen as the strongest of the new contenders.
Slight change in wind speed and direction out there: now SW and 8kts.
After three initial split times in the green, it's fallen apart a bit for Kopfstein in this free practice. He finishes his run first run with a DNF and 6 seconds on the clock at 1:00.272 - significantly faster than Podlunsek but a deviation from the course has rendered his time null and void.
Let's see what he's got in the bag for the second run.
He's straight back in and it's looking pretty decent on the clock, but he's maybe going a little too aggressive there from Gate 6, picking up penalties at Gate 6, 7 and 11 and adding +6s. Without those penalties he'd be sub-1 minute but as it stands, Chambliss clocks in 1:05.804
Still looks like there's time for another run.
All green on the split times but Gate 6 catches out Chambliss again. Just +2s extra on this run and he's topped the timesheets so far with 1:01.978
We know Chambliss will be looking to shave at least 3s off his run before Saturday, let's see what he comes back with later.
Michael Goulian up next. Goulian has been super busy over the offseason break working on making his plane faster, smoother and more agile. Let's see how it plays out as he gets prepped for the racetrack.
A little conservative there; maybe he's just finding his lines right now. Incorrect level flying at Gate 4 puts +2s on the timesheets in this first run and Goulian sits behind Chambliss with 1:01.313.
Back in the track for the second run in this free practice session.
Goulian goes aggressive and he goes over G, that's an automatic DNF and the end to his flying session.
And France's Ivanoff is into the track. He's going full throttle... maybe too full throttle as he exceeds start speed limit at the Start Gate. Penalties at Gate 5 and 12 despite this gutsy flying... we know Ivanoff likes a technical track but the speed seems to be throwing him off his lines out there.
Another over-G for this pilot and it's a DNF. Too bad... He appears to be going for a second run and it's fast... 2s at Gate 5 but that 58s time won't count as he's again gone over-G. DNF on the timesheets for Ivanoff.
Canada's McLeod now surging into the track. Looking good and FAST... but there seems to be a pattern forming as McLeod also exceeds maximum G in the first vertical turn... another incorrect level flying at Gate 5 and AGAIN he exceeds maximum G. He's determined to finish this run to get in some airtime in the racetrack but he's just going too aggressive right now.
He's pulled it around for his second run in the racetrack and it's looking good again. Split times are green and he's got a 2s advantage... but yet AGAIN it's over-G! That's the third DNF on the timesheets this afternoon in Abu Dhabi.
Nigel Lamb up next and he's looking very calm and collected in the track. Nice selection of green split times coming up, and he's gaining ground throughout the racetrack. He finishes with a 4.9s lead and the first clean run today... a very swift move up the ranks to first with 56.416
Lamb's confidence is definitely showing today!He's back into the track...
Looking even faster as he keeps flying clean and smooth... a slight dip in the splits as he loses half a second and he's pulled a little too hard in that vertical turn and over Gs in his second run. It's pulled him off his game a bit with as he picks up +2s at Gate 12 and an automatic DNF for the G, but that first blistering run will stand up.
Muroya up next. Yesterday's short Training session saw Dolderer clock in fastest at 56.440 and Muroya managed 57.165. He'll have Dolderer's time in mind as he comes into the racetrack...
It's looking fairly good but AGAIN!!! Over maximum G! These pilots are going hard and fast in the racetrack and it's not paying off... but Muroya is battling through despite the DNF. With the storms yesterday the pilots will be looking for every opportunity to perfect those racing lines and this free practice is no exception.
Muroya's session is brought to a swift close and Dolderer gets ready to improve on his 56.440 from yesterday. Can he do it?
Just waiting for Dolderer.Top 3 in the free practice timesheets so far:1. Lamb2. Chambliss3. GoulianDolderer, Sonka, Arch and Hall still to fly.
And Dolderer is in the track! He's flying FAST and we're seeing more confidence in his performance... 0.030 faster out of the Start Gate than Lamb but he's lost some pace out there... the splits have gone red. He can't quite match Lamb's pace and he finishes his clean first run with 57.308
And he comes back into the track for the second run. Clean and smooth through the chicane and 0.099 up on Lamb's pace... but the first vertical turning manoeuvre has caught him out and it's another maximum G. That's a shame as it's another DNF but like Lamb, that first run is the one that counts and Dolderer takes up second spot on the timesheets for this session.
Sonka up next. He's got a new raceplane and a new look... with two podium finishes last year Sonka is set on making 2016 his best ever. Let's see what he's got.
Short and (bitter) sweet for Sonka in this flying session. Over G in the first run and it's yet one more DNF for the timesheets. Judging by yesterday's training time of 58s, he's looking competitive. Just needs to keep it a little more under wraps to get some numbers down.
Hannes Arch straight into the track. It's a fast start and on point, but he seems to be losing a significant amount of time in those first few gates, despite a clean run. But it's all over as he also exceeds maximum G in the vertical turn... another session cut short and the sixth DNF of the day. That's going to make things interesting...