It's all green and he's ahead of Kopfstein! Different line back out of the VTM and it's red...
A great and clean run from the Spaniard! 53.297, just +0.076 behind Kopfstein and he can afford to crank it up a bit on his second run... that's experience starting to really pay off
Second go and he's in the red at the first split time, but he's got to go tighter at the VTM and it's not quite enough to slip past Kopfstein... one more gate and HE DOES IT! That is green and he moves into first place! We're just about to hit the halfway point and it's all to play for!
What we see each season is just how much closer it gets between the times of the frontrunners and those further down the pack – we're really talking hundreths of a second now and Velarde posts 53.208
– just +0.013 ahead of the Czech pilot
Mike Goulian of America flies next and that's a shaky start with a pylon hit at Gate 3... more work for the Airgators and perhaps some time for Goulian to collect his thoughts ahead of his 2nd run
And second run and Goulian is green from the get go!
This feels like a different pilot out there! That is phenomenal!
It's 52.458 and that propels him to the top of the timesheets!
And now we have Martin Sonka, fastest in the earlier FP3 session and a very determined competitor
Sonka is so hot on the heels of Goulian and his first run is 52.500
And on his second run, he manages to squeeze a bit more out and it's green! Sonka posts 52.097 and moves to the top!
Back to the racing! Kirby Chambliss next to lay down a promising performance in his first run – 52.500 that's within striking distance of Goulian!
And his second run includes a penalty for incorrect level at Gate 7 – and it's 54.567 which means his net times are consistent
Chambliss sits in 3rd, behind Goulian and Sonka
Goulian: "Hard to believe it's been nine years! I'm getting to like the rhythm of the track and you have to fly to the edge if you're going to win in this track."
Canada's Pete McLeod follow Chambliss...
It's clean and it's controlled, but not enough to move into the green on the split times – his first run – 53.513
And second go, can he up the ante?
Sonka: "Every little mistake counts and it's all about flying super smooth."
Four to fly in this first Qualifying session of 2017 – Muroya, Ivanoff, Hall and Dolderer