The first ever Qualifying session in Wiener Neustadt was a tense affair and saw Muroya top the timesheet with some smooth and consistent flying.
Due to the standing start, Qualifying was set up differently compared with other races. Each pilot would fly their first run, then land. When each Master Class pilot had completed their first run, they would then take off for a second time and fly their second run. This seemed to suit Muroya more than most.
The Japanese pilot set a time of 58.854s in his first run and then he beat it in his second run, knocking 0.010s off his own time.
Matthias Dolderer turned his fortunes around, finishing second on the timesheet just 0.317s behind Muroya. In his first run Dolderer picked up four seconds worth of penalties. But the German, who is celebrating his 48th birthday today, focused on his second run and found himself near the top of the timesheet.
Martin Sonka was third, just 0.588s behind Muroya. Sonka will hope that he can keep his consistency so he can claim as many points as possible tomorrow. Just behind Sonka was Pete McLeod. His 2018 season has not gone to plan, but the land-based tracks seem to suit the Canadian and his time of 59.196s in his first run was strong enough to see him fourth.
Matt Hall, who is currently joint second in the standings, was fifth. Michael Goulian, sitting top of the standings, finished sixth. The top six pilots in Qualifying were all within 0.744s of each other – which will make for a tight race tomorrow.
Kirby Chambliss was visibly frustrated after his first run. The American set a time of 58.305s in his first run, but was given a DQ due to an over RPM, which he tried to appeal. The decision was upheld by the Race Committee. He couldn't repeat the performance in his second run and had to settle for seventh on the timesheet.
British pilot Ben Murphy impressed with his first standing start Qualifying and set a 59.854s run, which saw him in eighth and was 1.371s behind Muroya. Nicolas Ivanoff was just behind Murphy with a time of 1:00.002. Ivanoff was top of the Fench pilots who were bunched together, with François Le Vot just behind him, and Mika Brageot below Le Vot.
Juan Velarde, Petr Kopfstein and Cristian Bolton only set one valid time due to DNFs and DQs. Velarde and Kopfstein were given DQs for crossing the Safety Line and Cristian Bolton was given a DNF for exceeding maximum G. Due to the format of Qualifying he was able to go for his second run. Unfortunately a penalty at Gate 8 for incorrect level flying saw him finish last.
The pilots will be facing off in the head to heads tomorrow for the Round of 14, which begins at 14:00CET – watch every moment right HERE.
Wiener Neustadt 2018 Master Class Qualifying results