Chiba 2018: Master Class Qualifying reactions

Pilots discuss today’s flying

Chambliss and Ivanoff

Race three is always a pivotal point in the Red Bull Air Race season, and the pilots know that tomorrow will be make or break time for their season. Here's how they feel after Qualifying...

Michael Goulian
"Our team is so strong, and we keep working and working and working. To put it all together here, and with an engine that was hot, is even more satisfying than Cannes. It's a technical track and the winds will be different tomorrow, so it's going to be a heck of a race. And anyone can win here tomorrow."

Matt Hall
"I thought I was going to nail it! We had a massive airspeed drop in the first run and we're just looking at why that happened. The second run was where we expected to be, in the mid 55s range, but obviously with a pylon hit, so we went from almost being perfect to the back of the pack, but that happens. So we're not overly concerned, as we're still one of the fastest out there, but we do have to find out why we lost that speed in the first run."

Yoshihide Muroya
"Today I was able to race enough but as the conditions get rougher it gets harder to control, so for tomorrow I would rather go consistent and fly a stable line. I know if I do that I will be able to get a good time, so that's my tactic for tomorrow. If I am able to win tomorrow it will push the recognition of the Red Bull Air Race further in Japan. I want people to know what a wonderful sport this is."

Matthias Dolderer
"I could've been faster with a bit more of a risky line and pulling more Gs. I was a little bit more defensive in the first run and in the second run, I made several mistakes and knew it would be faster so I pulled out of the track. I will fly against Nicolas tomorrow – who can be fast – and he's flying in front of me so I can use a bit of tactics and hear his time. Most probably the wind will come from the other direction again, so it will be a new game. I prefer the wind coming from the other direction."

Martin Sonka
"Without the penalties we would still be near the top. In the first run there was a horizontal stall in the first turn and I lost a lot of time. And in the second run I was 0.7kts over the start speed. We're not slow, the trajectory was exactly what we prepared, just [without] those two mistakes we would've been third or something. With the stall you feel it 1/100ths of a second before it happens – there are some aeroplanes where you feel it coming, but it's so sudden in the raceplane. And because of all the manoeuvres are vertical or right on the edge it means it's a competition who is closer to the maximum angle of attack without stalling. Today we stalled and didn't win the competition."

Kirby Chambliss
"I think we're going to have a good race tomorrow, we just have to see what the weather gods give us and work it out from there. I think tomorrow will be like yesterday with the wind, but I don't care. If it's blowing one way, you deal with it, if it's blowing the other way you cope. For us we tend to better if the conditions are bad so I'm OK with it."

Mika Brageot
"Coming from so far away we can be happy. We didn't find the magic line before Quali, but it came out for Qualifying so we wanted to be in the middle of the table, and we are. Very good! We have identified a point in the track where we can get a little bit more time for tomorrow, but remember for tomorrow the wind will shift so the tactic will be different again. We wait for tomorrow morning and see what's happening."

Ben Murphy
"It was disappointing after a really good FP 2, and even though FP3 didn't look good on paper, out net times were up there. We were really confident going into Quali, but we had some technical issues. We had an over RPM, which we've never had before and the mixture setting problems, that we thought we'd solved, seem to be back again. So we're back to not getting enough out of the aeroplane, but I was happy with my lines. But it's a shame to find ourselves up against Goulian, like we did in Cannes, but tomorrow is the other day."

Juan Velarde
"I'm happy with the day. Yesterday we didn't have a very good start and today we've come from worst to better and I'm satisfied with my flying and the work of the team. The team is working right now and I'm flying against Sonka and he's a very strong pilot, but I will just have to focus on my own flying."

François Le Vot
"Obviously I'm disappointed with this stupid mistake in the Quali, but we've been consistently improving and working really well with improving the lines and the gameplan is followed every time. Now we don't have much more to discover in terms of lines, we need more speed in the raceplane. I was probably tired and under pressure of my own performance for Qualifying. The first penalty was through seeking the limits – I found them! And the second penalty was a bad assessment of the wind drift – it was stronger and it ended up with the pylon hit, but excellent raw timings."

Pete McLeod
"The wind has been challenging; a little bit of turbulence but not bad like Budapest. I try to be consistent and be on the edge, sometimes you have to make quick corrections. I've just been playing with how much risk I want to take off. Anything can happen out there, but I've shown that my lines aren't perfect, but I'm good in some parts of the track so I hope I can go through to the Final 4 tomorrow."

Petr Kopfstein
"We think we can fly faster and there's a gap of half a second that we think we can make up. We took the first run conservatively and then pushed in the second run. I was surprised that the second run was slower. We know where we can make up the time. For tomorrow we have to go back to the tactics from the first day because of the wind, so the fast lines of today won't work."

Nicolas Ivanoff
"Today was much better than yesterday. My feeling in the plane was much better in the first flight and in the second flight I was quite confident and I tried to fly cleaner, but it was not so fast – maybe I wasn't aggressive enough. And for Qualifying I tried to mix the best parts of both rounds and it wasn't so good as I did some mistakes in the chicane, but I had the feeling I couldn't do more. I had no penalties in the gates, but I need to be more aggressive, but smooth in the track."

Cristian Bolton
"We are happy. We did a really good time. 57.1s – that's a great Quali, so we're pleased. We tried different lines and stuck to the plan. We've still got work to do, we're checking our lines and seeing how we can beat Pete tomorrow."

Tomorrow's action starts at 14:00 local time – catch it all HERE.