Matthias Dolderer showed all his detractors that he's still got what it takes to be champion with a blistering performance in Abu Dhabi Qualifying today. His time of 52.795s saw the German pilot not only top the timesheet but also break the track record.
Dolderer set his best time with his first run and pushed even harder to see if he could get further ahead. That saw him break the 12G limit and he was given a DNF and told to 'RTB' (Return To Base), but he had done enough.
Michael Goulian, who has returned this season in great form, kept his cool in his flight and posted a time of 53.392s, more than half a second slower than Dolderer, but enough to see him secure second place in Qualifying.
World Champion Yoshihide Muroya was looking to push Dolderer off the top spot and had green split times, but at the halfway point Muroya's raceplane had lost too much energy and the German regained his time advantage.
Fourth on the timesheet was Mika Brageot. With his settled team and new look raceplane, the French pilot has a new found confidence and flew smoothly in the track, which was the gameplan he had aimed for.
Martin Sonka and Petr Kopfstein finished seventh and eighth and will go head-to-head in the Round of 14 – the first time the two Czech pilots have ever faced each other in a heat.
Ben Murphy finished ninth in Qualifying and was ecstatic with his performance, proving that consistency and small, incremental improvements can get you a long way in this sport.
With the new rules there were four over-Gs in Qualifying (which is a two second penalty) and three DNFs for exceeding the G-limit (going over 12G). Matt Hall was the most unlucky pilot as he receved his DNF in his first run and had to RTB, meaning he was unable to set a time and will fly first tomorrow in the Round of 14 against Dolderer.
You can follow all tomorrow's action live right HERE. The coverage starts at 12:20 local time for the Challenger Class race.
Abu Dhabi 2018 Master Class Qualifying results