Red Bull Air Race 2016: Abu Dhabi 1st Qualifying

  • Mar 11, 2016 5:58am GMT

While the weather has much improved the technical track in Abu Dhabi is causing problems for some of the Master Class pilots but Matt Hall was the quickest both during the final Free Practice session and for the first round of Qualifying. German Dolderer finished right behind him.

American Mike Goulian's (photos below) modifications and experience are shining through as he looked smooth and confident with clean Qualifying runs finishing third. "I'm really happy... we went out and executed just like we wanted to... We're just doing one flight at a time and one race at a time," Mike seems happy with everything adding, "The first run today was exploratory as I was trying to find the correct line. The later runs were a vast improvement. It's nice in the track. I'm happy with my raceplane and my times." Later tell those following him on social media, "Today was a nice start to the season with a P3 in Qualifying. This is just the first step on a long road, but we are certainly pleased with our performance."

Kirby Chambliss is not as happy (photos below) He was ordered to return to base after the DNF result for exceeding maximum G. Going into today's sessions he said, "I feel good, we're not quite where we need to be, but overall I'm happy with the raceplane and with my conditioning. We've got a few changes on our team that I think will benefit us and I hope my flying will improve with these changes."

Canadian Pete McLeod (photo below) 8th quickest today said, "The track has a couple of points that are interesting, I'm not sure it's going to be my favourite track of the year, but the back half has a tight sequence. The turn at Gate 3 will play a factor, there are not that many options and it will catch a few guys out." Following the qualifying session he said, "Finished qualifying in 8th place with a clean run; no penalties and no over-G. Facing off against Nigel Lamb in the Round of 14 tomorrow!"

Master Class Qualifying results:

  1. Hall (AUS) - 58.079
  2. Dolderer (GER) - 58.268
  3. Goulian (USA) - 59.184
  4. Muroya (JPN) - 59.242
  5. Ivanoff (FRA) - 59.523
  6. Arch (AUT) - 59.764
  7. Lamb (GBR) - 1:00.160
  8. McLeod (CAN) - 1:00.424
  9. Velarde (ESP) - 1:01.008
  10. Sonka (CZE) - 1:01.503
  11. Kopfstein (CZE) - 1:01.972
  12. Le Vot (FRA) - 1:02.135
  13. Podlunsek (SLO) - 1:02.154
  14. Chambliss (USA) - DNF

Challenger Cup

American Kevin Coleman (photo below) qualified 4th in the Challenger Cup series. Luke Czepiela topped the timesheet in Qualifying while Daniel Ryfa claimed second spot and Brazilian Francis Barros flew well enough to see him place third. Coleman picked up a penalty for a pylon hit, but if he had avoided that he would've posted the fastest time in Qualifying. Heading into the session he said, "It feels good to be finally in the track after all the bad weather. It's really fun – I had a blast and I'm ready for Qualifying tomorrow. I made a couple of mistakes that I think I can make a little bit better, so I'm going to study some video tonight. I'm really excited to be here. I've been dreaming about this since I was 13 years old. So this is something I've worked pretty much my whole life for."