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.
Newcomer Kevin Coleman is next and as the youngest pilot ever to fly in the Red Bull Air Race at 25, he's already caused a stir after finishing in first during a Free Practice session. He stopped the clock with 1:05s – amazing! Now it's the real deal...
As is always the case, we spoke too soon! Coleman may have had a touch of beginner's luck yesterday as he scores the first pylon hit of Qualifying! That's an immediate 3s and a trip out on the water for our Airgators...
It's a 1:09.820 for the American who debuts here in Abu Dhabi. One to go!
British newcomer Ben Murphy is last to fly in the tough UAE track, full of tight turns that pack on the G. The former Red Arrows pilot is a big hit with the UK fans and he's starting at the beginnng of his Red Bull Air Race career today!
He's into the track but it's not long before he hears the 'knock it off' call from the Race Tower for crossing the safety line and he's called out of the track with a DSQ. Bad luck!
Welcome to 2015 World Champion Paul Bonhomme in the commentary box with Nick
Le Vot fighting with gusting winds out on the track, he's already picked up +2s at Gate 4
1:05.138 for Le Vot, but every pilot has two runs.
Le Vot already 2.5s faster than Run 1
Less energy on the return and a long stretch with tricky gates after that vertical turn... but it's looking good and importantly it's clean!
Le Vot 1:02.135