So here we go! Free Practice is go... Czech Republic's Petr Kopfstein is first up and in the track.
Kopfstein taking his first timed flights in the Budapest racetrack as a Master... he's taking his time getting to grips with the track as he scrubs his first run with a deviation from the course. Second run for FP1 and he's on the move...
DNF result for Kopfstein again, this is a tricky course for the Czech pilot. He's probably going to head back to the race airport and do some major debriefing to prepare for his second practice session... some solid timings will be imperative to give him an indication of performance this weekend.
Goulian currently out for his first Free Practice session... he's a Budapest veteran and took a race win back in 2009. The Hungarian capital has some GREAT memories for the American pilot...
Goulian looking sharp... it's a DNF though on his first run as he too deviates from the course. But he's got it together for Run 2 and that's 59.862 on the clock for the American. A starting point... something to work on improving in these coming Free Practice sessions. Run 3 is no-go as Goulian goes too hard and fast and exceeds maximum G.
Spain's Juan Velarde into the track. It's Velarde's second time in the Budapest track as a Master Class pilot, but it's not a case of plain sailing. A SCO (Safety Climb Out) result for Run 1 and despite a promising time in the 57s margin for Run 2, Velarde has landed a DNF result.
Seems we've really got an unforgiving racetrack this year... we haven't seen a sweep of error-free runs, but it's early days in this first Free Practice.
France's Francois Le Vot heads out for his FP1 runs... Le Vot has been reporting issues with his raceplane's performance capabilities all season and is the first pilot out there today to clock in a time in his Run 1... it's slow at 1:04.950 (including +4s for incorrect level flying at Gates 18 and 19) but it's a starting point.
SCO for Run 2... the pilots really seem to have their work cut out in the next free practice session.
Canada's Pete McLeod into the track. It's fast and he's looking comfortable... but this is an exercise in getting familiar with this long, narrow and high-G racetrack and McLeod has some work to do on his racing lines. Penalties at Gates 7, 18 and 19 have added +6s to his time, leaving him with 1:04.091 on the clock... a result that takes him into third place overall so far.
Run 2 a similar story, this time it's Gates 6, 7 and 18 that have tripped up the Canadian and he's struggling to scrub off any time from Run 1. 1:04.684 on the clock and no time left to complete Run 3.
Up next: Australia's Matt Hall.
Matt Hall completes his first Free Practice session and the times are looking a little less than competitive... this is one track that's pushing the pilots to their limits already. Hall clocks in a best time of 1:00.678 and that's just enough to put him currently in 4th place overall, with Gates 6 and 18 causing the Australian pilot problems as he picks up +4s in penalties.
Martin Sonka takes to the track for FP1 - Sonka previously clocked in a fastest lap time in Chiba and he's looking quick and confident out there today. Budapest is his adopted home race and the Czech pilot is pumped for another podium.
Run 1 clocks in at 59.303 and Run 2 comes in with 58.975, with just +2s penalties a piece in each run. Only Juan Velarde has flown faster so far and Sonka is definitely one to watch this weekend.
2015 Budapest race winner Hannes Arch is up next.
Arch out for his first Free Practice and on the face of it, those times are not looking great... 1:08.367 for Run 1 but that's including an incredible +10s for penalties - Arch is flying too high through those Gates!
Run 2 tidier and much quicker, 1:03.004 including +4s in penatlies. That's a "raw" time of 59.004 but with the penalties in place, Arch is currently placing in 5th overall so far in this session.
5 pilots still to fly; France's Ivanoff up next.
Ivanoff into the track... he's struggling with this lines through Gates 7 and 8... and again at 18 and 19. Seems 18 and 19 are catching a lot of pilots out today. Ivanoff finishes Run 1 with an extra 8s on the clock, placing him over 9s behind Velarde as the fastest pilot out there.
Ivanoff takes a leap up the rankings with Run 2, just a slight issue with incorrect level passing at Gate 7 which adds +2 to his time, leaving the Frenchman with 1:02.802 on the clock. That's enough to place in him 5th overall so far.
Chambliss completes his first FP1 Run and it's the FIRST CLEAN RUN of the day! No errors, no penalties, no problem? Chambliss clocks in at 1:00.263, that's fifth overall so far. He seems really comfortable out there and looks to have done his homework. Can he push his way up the session rankings today? Let's see...
Another clean run from the American pilot and he scrubs a second off his Run 1 time, with 59.015... bringing Chambliss up to third place overall so far, with just three pilots left to fly. Chambliss attempting a third run to see if he can take it up another level...
He picks up his first penalty of the day, right out at Gate 19 just before the Finish Gate, and that's an extra +2s on the clock. Overall it was a slower run with 1:02s including that penalty, so Chambliss stays put in third place. Dolderer up next.
Dolderer arguably one of the biggest threats for the podium this weekend. He's determined and more focused than ever this season and the first green splits indicate that he's not taking it easy in FP1. It's a DNF for Run 1 after a series of penalties, a max G penalty and a Safety Climb Out, but he's soon back in for Run 2. on the clock at Gate 6, and he's fallen 1.7s behind Velarde's time... Gate 18 poses a problem for the German and that's now +4s on the clock. Dolderer 1:01.382 and that's just enough to keep him in 7th place overall in this flying session. The German has definitely got some work to do, but he's a tough contender.
Podlunsek into the track... like Kopfstein, this is his first time flying under the bridge in the Master Class. It's not a bad start for the Master Class newcomer, but it's still 8.289 off Velarde's top ranking time. Just one error on the timesheets with +2s penalty so let's see if Podlunsek can quickly gain some confidence and make a move up from 11th overall.
Gates 11 and 17 give Podlunsek a little trouble with incorrect passing penalties, and he can't improve on that Run 1 time with the extra baggage in place... so that's 11th place overall so far for Podlunsek today in Budapest.
Muroya has clocked in with DNF result so it's just Nigel Lamb to fly in FP1.