It's been a long two months for the Challengers who today were keen to get in the track and start racing again. Here's how they thought day one went...
"My last race was in Abu Dhabi in February, so it was a long break and now I have to find my way again in the track. I never flew with this plane before, it was the first time for me now, it's a little bit different to the others, at least that's my impression. But I think I'm getting used to it now and also to the track, so it's getting better and better. The afternoon Free Practice was more windy than in the morning session; a slightly different wind direction as well, and it was more bumpy. So probably you cannot compare the times exactly because of the wind and it will make a big difference when there is no wind – probably it will be necessary to fly a different line. The key points on this track are the Vertical Turning Manoeuvre in the south and the north, and I think probably taking a different line if there is no wind."
"It is the first time I have been at the top of a Free Practice timesheet, but it was the first flight, so actually two months between the two races. I need to start to fly again in the new plane because they are all a bit different, so it was a good surprise and I'm happy about this for sure. But the most important will be on Sunday. The track is very fast, especially with the Edge compared to last year with the Extra. Everything is coming faster and faster and faster. So I like it very much. What is also very good is to fly in Budapest, inside the city, on the Danube and in front of the Parliament. It's just amazing. I think it's one of the best. It's just unique to fly here."
"It's been a while – Abu Dhabi was my last one – so almost six months without flying a track. I missed it! First practice, way behind the aircraft, second one slightly better. Still a lot of penalties, but that's how I always do it. I'm always slow in the Free Practice and then in the competition I manage to pull it all together and do a good time. Hopefully it will be the same this time – slow in the practice and then coming back home with the podium. It's pretty windy and bumpy as well. So changing conditions, but the track itself is quite simple. It will be a competition of who can pull best and stay closer to the 10Gs. It's all about the Vertical Turning Manoeuvres."
"This morning it was my first go in the track and I got lost, this was because of the way the pylons are lined up, and I was positioned to go to the left, and that was it – I was just testing to see if the judges have good eyes! This afternoon I tried to just fly through the track, relaxed and focused. It wasn't easy to fly relaxed because it was bumpier than this morning and I'm finding it difficult to manage the Gs. We can't go more than 10G, so when I see the '10' it's too late, this is the difficult game for the Challengers and I think that's what it's going to be about on Sunday."
"It was quite bumpy, especially in the afternoon, but overall the track is very interesting and fast. Overall I'm happy and confident with the plane and the mistakes I've made can be easily corrected. So I just need to fly smoother and calmer and I know I can do that. And I was fastest in Qualifying last year and the track is almost the same, but we have new planes, which are a pleasure to fly in this track."
"It was really, really nice to be back in the track and I was surprisingly comfortable in the track. FP1 I was quite happy with and in FP2 I had a radio problem so I lost some track time, which was a little bit annoying. I'm loving being back in the track especially with the Edge, it's a very high energy machine and I'm looking forward to what Sunday will bring. The northern end of the track is very technical and with have a choice of how to fly the VTM. We can go flat, or go up and I really like the difference in the strategy. So we will see what works tomorrow."
The Challengers have FP3 before Qualifying tomorrow. Follow all the action HERE.