So this is it.. the moment we've all been waiting for! It's almost time for the Round of 8 and then straight into the Final 4... but who will make the podium here in Abu Dhabi?
It's a US / Canada duel to kick things off now, with American Mike Goulian taking on Fastest Loser Pete McLeod. Goulian is on spectacular form here in the UAE capital, seemingly in a great place mentally to make a bid in 2017 for the title
McLeod is also looking to step up in 2017 after finishing in 7th last year... they've both got something to prove and this heat is set to really ramp things up for the afternoon!
Goulian is in the air now and approaching the track... are you ready?!
His time will set the bar for McLeod so it's up to him to really go all out...
Good rhythm through the chicane and it's looking positive for the American
There's some extra effort around gate 3 that might be losing him time, so he needs to push hard for the finish
It's a clean run, but McLeod has it in him to push past Goulian if he avoids any extra corrections
First VTM is wide and it's in the red at the first split, but he could gain speed further along
And he's reducing Goulian's lead!
But that looked like an error...
And it's all red... one split to go!
And at the critical moment he steals the glory from Goulian!
MCLeod makes it through to the first Final 4 of 2017 with 54.952
He made up for that slower start in the last section into Gate 7/14
France's Ivanoff will set the pace... he's in the track!
Sonka will be hard to beat, but we know Ivanoff can give us a flash of brilliance just when you least expect it
Could be losing time through the track and that's not a great time – 54.676 and it's slower than his R14 time, maybe due to the winds getting up in the track
After a DQ in 2016 here, Sonka is keen to set the record straight
And that first VTM was a tight line, clean and confident out there
The ice cool Czech pilot is a machine out there and he's almost home and dry! It's green all the way, no loss of energy between those sectors
And he's through! More than 1s quicker than Ivanoff with 00:53.525
FINAL 4 contenders at the halfway point of the R8:
This could be a dream result for the newcomer to the Master Class from Chile... Dolderer will be hard to beat but he can also crumble under pressure... and Bolton has shown real strength out there this week