And next we turn our attention to the Challenger Cup pilots for the first Qualifying session of 2016!
Florian Berger of Germany is first into the track and he's now got decent track time under his belt. The young competitor got his first podium back in Fort Worth, USA, in 2015. What's he got for us today...
It's a 2s penalty at Gate 3 for incorrect level! That gives Berger a 1:10.087 as the firs to run...
Up next, another familiar face – it's Francis Barros from Brazil.
The two-time national aerobatic champion managed a 5th place overall in 2015...
Barros also picks up 2s in penalties for incorrect level, but this time it's at Gate 6! We think that buzzer is going to sound quite a bit here in Abu Dhabi!
Barros shaves some time off Berger's run and leaves a 1:08.198 in his wake...
Back in the track for 2016 it's Polish pilot Luke Czepiela – welcome home! He's been sharpening his skills since he competed in the 2014 season and is fighting fit for a second go in the Challenger Cup.
Czepiela is off to a good start and he's in the green ahead of Barros' times on the clock
Maybe a year away has been just the ticket for the pilot. He moves into the lead at the halfway stage of Qualifying with a 1:07.241 clean run!
Daniel Ryfa of Sweden is up next. He was fastest in one of the earlier Free Practice sessions with 1:06.007 but conditions are different in the track today so nothing can be taken for granted.
Britain's Nigel Lamb into the track, smoke on...
0.7s off Goulian's pace in the first split and Lamb knows he is capable to getting that top spot with a solid sub-59 time
He picks up +2s at Gate 6, and it's caught him out yet again. He'll have to work much harder to get a good time in for this first run, and he finishes with 1:01.541
Without the penalty Lamb would be looking at third place currently, but there's another chance to go faster
Lamb back into the track for Run 2 and he can't seem to find the same pace as Goulian, he's down by 0.6s and is losing time as he progresses... almost a whole second off the pace and Lamb is keeping it level and clean but can't quite find the speed
Clear frustration there from Lamb as he KNOWS he can go much, much faster but he's improved on his time and got a clean pass through the racetrack in this session
Japan's Yoshi Muroya into the racetrack now. He flew his best time earlier this with 57s but has been plagued with the DNF results.
He's still looking fast as he passes through the racetrack and we're seeing a more aggressive Muroya and some great lines...
Muroya moves up into second with 59.242
That's a really solid start for the Japanese pilot who will give himself the green light to go full throttle in Run 2
Still looking fast through the chicane and he's storming out of the vertical turn but the call to knock it off comes from Jim DiMatteo in the race tower... it's another DQ this flying session for crossing the safety line and he's back to the race airport for today.
Muroya remains in second place behind Goulian with 59.242
Dolderer has flown 3 sub-1 minute times this week and he's looking really confident this season already