There was wind in the track today which created bumpy conditions for the pilots. The Challengers were the first to test out the Kazan track, here's what they thought...
"Flying today was good. It was a little bit windy, which makes it more difficult for us. However the track – which looked almost impossible yesterday – was actually really enjoyable. It's flowing nicely and I enjoyed it. Now I need to sit down, look at my videos and work out the best line. I have good memories of Kazan as I won here and the track is difficult, which I like, so hopefully I can claim gold again."
"I have to say I'm not in love with the track – it's similar to the track in Cannes, but reversed. I loved Cannes, but this is not my favourite, but it's OK. I'll cope with it and fly as fast as possible. When I go out there I'm aiming to win. If I'm not aiming to win I should not go out there. Of course I have to be realistic. Obviously it's not that easy and the other guys have a lot more experience, but that doesn't matter, I will do my best to be as fast as possible. I'm aiming for another podium, like in Cannes."
"Basically I didn't fly in the first session. I can't really say what happened, I just hit the pylon quite violently and I decided to fly back even though the material flew away from my wing. I prefer to play it safe, and when something like that happens you have to reset your mind to fly again, so I did that. I lost a lot of confidence and in this afternoon's session my aim was to build my confidence back up. And it's on its way. It's been a tough day, but when my weeks start tough they usually end well, so I'm hoping that's the case here."
"Free Practice 1 was just getting back and used to the track because I haven't raced since Abu Dhabi – get back in the plane, learn the plane, learn the track and get used to that. We were trying things in the later session that should make us faster, but I just didn't get away with it like we wanted to. Hopefully we'll have it figured out tomorrow, qualify well and then we'll see how we race."
"It was cool. It was a bit bumpy, but it seemed OK. It just takes a bit of getting used to again, and I haven't flown for a while. It's quite an interesting track. I was nervous this morning because it's been a long break since Cannes, and the wind obviously plays havoc, so I just took it really easy. Once I knew I could do it, that takes the pressure off a little bit. This is my first time in Russia and it's been good. The people are really friendly, always smiling. It's an interesting place to fly, as well. I've enjoyed it so far."
"It's still Free Practice so I'm not putting too much into it. It's a totally different track to last year, it's actually my first track with so many right turns, but I do like these oval tracks. With the right setup of the raceplane it should be a good weekend for me. I've got my lines worked out and it's interesting to see what the other pilots are doing in the track."
The Challengers will fly their final Free Practice session before Qualifying, catch all the action HERE.