The tough part here is that the pilots flying in the Final will now be digging really deep one last time after a full afternoon of racing... conserving their energy now is essential and not allowing any distractions to get in the way
McLeod: "I made a couple of mistakes but made it all up in the last turn of the race. I'm sure it was an exciting one to watch. The wind is picking up and is more turbulent on the run in."
Sonka: "I feel very good but now it's time to push a bit more. The wind has totally changed direction so it could be more tricky. There must be a margin of risk if you want to win."
With conditions in the track increasing, especially the wind – peaking at 20kph – the pilots in the Final will need to adapt once they enter the track as needed
Experience could really play a big part here, and there could be a tailwind at Gate 3/10
This is IT! McLeod is cleared into the track for the last time here in Abu Dhabi and he is the man to lay down the marker...
Maybe too safe, says Bonhomme
Second VTM much crisper and this back end of the track is where he's coming into his own! It's 00:54.632 which might not be a winning time... especially when you've got Dolderer and Sonka on your tail!
Martin Sonka of the Czech Republic looking for his first ever win here! And that's a perfect start for Sonka!
And that's half a second in the green! This is epic racing! Green again and so precise here in the VTMs... it's his to win... and that is consistent to a T!
Sonka stops the clock in 00:53.139 and moves into 1st place... can he hold on to it?!
Dolderer will follow now and Sonka is guaranteed a podium but anything could happen with Dolderer and Velarde;)
Here comes the German pilot... ready to defend the 2016 title and his honour...
Lot of support on here for Sonka! Great to have you all with us :)
Here we go! Dolderer is into the track and he's off to a great start, it's unbelievable! Bang on the time at the first split time with Sonka!
But it's in the red now and this is over for Dolderer... and he's under review for over roll in Gate 14
And there is the buzzer! Sonka is safe and that leaves the door open for Velarde!
If Velarde flies well here, Dolderer will miss out on a podium after that mistake... that's a bitter pill to swallow
Looks like Sonka will take the win, much to the delight of the team and all his fans :)
Last pilot to fly in Abu Dhabi in our first race of the 2017 season – already taking shape as the most competitive in the sport's history!
Spain's Velarde is up next and he can make the podium if he plays his cards right here – can he beat his best result of 5th place?