Race Day in Porto is here and it's been a heart-pumping Round of 14. Matt Hall was the quickest pilot of the day and there were other surprises and upsets. Here's what happened in the first seven heats...
Brageot vs Goulian
Mikael Brageot had the unfortunate task of flying first in the Round of 14. He flew well, although looked conservative in the VTMs, however he still posted a time of 1:08.243 for Michael Goulian to beat. Goulian looked comfortable in the track. He was behind Brageot at the first split time, but in the second and third his clock had turned green and was ahead. However when he crossed the Finish Gate he was 0.128s behind.
Ivanoff vs Kopfstein
Nicolas Ivanoff flew well, but was late in his Vertical Turns, meaning his time of 1:08.380 wasn't as quick as it could've been. Kopfstein hit the start gate at 177kts, which was slow. He was paying the price and was behind his French rival at the halfway stage, but Kopfstein's better control in the VTMs meant that he gained on Ivanoff and finished his run 0.494s quicker than Ivanoff.
Dolderer Vs Hall
Dolderer went first and it looked like the Matthias Dolderer of the 2016 season. He flew quickly and smoothly setting a time of 1:07.762. Hall was second in the track, he looked behind the ghost plane and was slower at the end of lap one. He kept on his line and trusted himself and was 0.098s faster than the German at the end of his run. But Dolderer's time was quick enough to see him go through as the Fastest Loser.
Podlunsek vs Muroya
After his over-G yesterday, Podlunsek looked to play it safe and set a penalty free time. Podlunsek did just that and it was still competitive. He crossed the Hamilton Finish Gate in 1:08.287. Muroya didn't have any flight time on Friday, but that hasn't slowed him down. He flew perfectly in his run and beat Podlunsek by 0.468s.
Le Vot vs Sonka
Francois Le Vot flew so beautifully in his run and was looking to set a time that would be difficult to beat. Unfortunately he clipped the Finish Gate pylon, which added three seconds to his time. Martin Sonka had been flying fast all week and his Round of 14 run was no different. He was more than three seconds quicker than Le Vot at the first split time and didn't look back. Even if Le Vot had not collected a penalty, Sonka would still have gone through.
Velarde vs Chambliss
Due to Velarde's prop strike when he landed after completing FP3 he was unable to start today. His raceplane is fixed, but he was unable to complete the test flights necessary to be able to compete. For Kirby Chambliss to go through to the Round of 8 he just had to get through his lap. He looked ragged in his lap, but he was solid and didn't hold back. He set a time of 1:07.784 – his fastest time so far this week.
Bolton vs McLeod
Cristian Bolton is another pilot that has struggled to get track time in Porto due to technical issues with his raceplane. He flew well in his heat and set a time of 1:09.729 for McLeod to beat. McLeod, who was quickest in Qualifying, flew smoothly and cleanly, but not his quickest. He was still able to beat Bolton by 1.553s and book his place in the Round of 8.
Follow the Round of 8 action HERE.
Porto 2017 Round of 14 results