Qualifying brought with it a lot of excitement and a few surprises. Here's what the Master Class pilots thought of today's Qualifying sessions...
"It was a good flight, we know where we can be faster, but Race Day is a little bit different tactically for everybody. I think I can shave a bit more time, but I don't think I need to fly sub 53s laps, we have enough speed to win the race."
"It wasn't very good because we missed some training opportunities because of over-Gs, so I was too conservative in the track today. I'm not confident about tomorrow because we have a very heavy aircraft and that is an issue for us at the moment, we're losing energy in the high-Gs. It'll be hard work to find where we can cut that weight."
"There are two ways to fly the track, there's the safe way which is slow and there's the fast way which is risky because of the chance of over-G – it's also not easy. A couple of guys out there have fast enough planes that they can go the easy way and stay competitive. Other guys are pushing hard but it's high risk. For me to go fast in the track it means being close to the limit. It must be what the track designers want, and that's what they're getting."
"It was alright in the track today. I've run a bit faster than that in earlier sessions. We're still a second off, so we're looking at that but we're flying consistently so we'll try to stay on that path. Tomorrow we're up against Le Vot, and I'm tired of going up against Le Vot, it seems like we do it every time in the Round of 14. I was against him here last year and it's happened about four or five times. But we'll see how it goes."
"We think we can fly faster than that. We set a good time in the first run so we wanted to push in the second run. I don't know how I pulled 12.6Gs, it didn't seem to me that I pulled harder. I'm feeling pretty confident about tomorrow. Martin is flying pretty similar times to me so I think it'll be a great battle between the two Czechs – the first time it has happened."
"It [Qualifying] wasn't as good as we were hoping. I was feeling good entering the track. I got a pretty high-G indication in my first big pull on the stick and I logged that in my head, and as I came around the track I didn't even think that it would be a problem coming into Gate 7. I was just applying a tight line and I touched 12Gs. That isn't Race Day, it's just Qualifying so we need to race Matthias. He put a fast time down, but he has also only posted about three results in training sessions because he has been breaking the G-limit. We'll see what happens tomorrow, I am still confident of a strong result. It's just a case of debriefing myself so I don't do it again. Fortunately I have a self-motivating team who knows that these mistakes are rare, so we'll approach tomorrow refreshed."
"I always try to go to the maximum to get the best speed and time, and my tactician tells me to cool down – but it doesn't work. So I have to find a way to get rid of over-Gs, which would kill my race. We have to look at tactics. For all 14 of us, it's a new game at zero points. The major goal is to be consistent and not to get penalties or over Gs."
"It wasn't a great result but it wasn't a bad one either. We're back in low 54s and I was expecting to be in the mid 53s. We're up against Ben tomorrow and he flew very well today, so anything can happen, but I have to push it, we can't fly conservatively. If I make a mistake it could be tough. I flew well in the track today and maybe I can push a bit harder tomorrow."
"We've been flying consistently all week and I almost broke 53s today in Free Practice, and that's sort of our goal to get down there. I'm not sure if it's possible, we'll just have to fly perfectly. The wind might change tomorrow and I don't know what that'll do to the times. We'll just go out there, lay down the times and see how far we get."
"It's a good day; it's the best time we've posted since the beginning of the week and fourth was exactly where we wanted to be – it sounds strange to say that, but we didn't want to win a Quali session, because you can sometimes get a tough opponent. I felt really well in the aircraft, everything is positive and we're looking forward to tomorrow. We haven't worked out the exact tactic for tomorrow, but we know where we can get faster, but as you know you have to put everything together, but we have to keep a cool head."
"I flew better in Qualifying than I did in FP3. I'm quite happy for that. For sure with the plane, I can't be two seconds faster, but I'm happy to fly with the plane, but I missed a good part of the weekend. I have to be focused and enjoy the flying. Yesterday I was distracted, but today I was happy. I will fly as fast as I can and maybe I'll be lucky because a lot of pilots have over-G'd this week, It's kind of a training for Cannes."
"We were aiming for 54s but we were a little bit slower – that was basically the VTM, but we already know where to make it better for tomorrow. The most positive thing was that we did a clean flight – which is good, you have to have a clean flight if you want to place."
François Le Vot
"We figured out from the beginning of the week that I'm flying cleanly for two thirds of the run and then I'm losing a lot of line speed in the last third of the course. Now we have to work out why, but we're on the right path, I think. I'm very pleased with my flight and as always my biggest pleasure comes when I follow my gameplan. Most of the time I follow that to the letter and maybe in the future it will pay off."
"To be honest, today was the icing on a pretty good week. We came here not knowing what to expect and we started placing pretty well and it's nice to see we've carried that through to Qualifying. Our plan for this race has been to learn. We've made little steps all the way through so we'll keep with the same plan. We've got a few ideas of how we might be able to save a little bit more time, so we'll put those into action tomorrow and see how it goes."
The Master Class pilots hit the track for the Round of 14 at 14:00 local tomorrow and you don't have to miss a minute of the action. Follow it HERE.