Kazan 2018: Master Class Qualifying reactions

It’s all change at the top of the timesheets in Qualifying

First and second share a smile

There has been a turnaround in fortune for some of the pilots in today's Qualifying. Here's what each of them thought of their own performances...

Matt Hall

"We haven't looked at the data yet, but I'm happy with how I flew. The wind changed so we'll have a look, but I'm still pretty comfortable as we're flying cleanly and I haven't made any mistakes. The advantage of the head to head means both of us will have the same conditions. In Qualifying I tried to fly the line I flew in FP3, where I set the track record, but that line wasn't available. The plane was drifting through the track, which caught me out on the first run. I tried to correct it for the second run, but I couldn't get anything out of it."

Michael Goulian

"It was really good. In the last Free Practice Matt was quite a bit faster than we were, so we thought we had the wrong line and then in Quali we changed it. In the first run it was clearly slow and conservative, so I made a decision between the two flights to go back to a very aggressive line. It was a good time, and I'm happy with that. And I'm happy I was able to make a 'game time decision' that wasn't in the plan. The conditions are beautiful, you can't have better racing conditions."

Martin Sonka

"We tried many different trajectories and different styles and we seem to be getting slower and slower. So we have to check the engine to see if that's OK and then I have to find out what I'm doing wrong. The wind today wasn't an issue, it was calmer and seemed to slow down the track especially in the VTM. When flying later in the day the sun is low and reflecting off the water, which isn't very comfortable, but otherwise the weather is perfect."

Mika Brageot

"We are in the top half of the table, as planned, so this is always one of our first targets for race weekend. We will fly second tomorrow in our heat, which is a plus point. We are flying against Matt, who is the current leader, but that's part of the game and we were faster than him in Qualifying so hopefully we will be faster tomorrow, we will work for that. We have to beat the leaders if we want to climb the championship, so let's see what tomorrow brings."

Yoshihide Muroya

"The flight lines are good, but the time isn't as good as expected. We've got to check the engines and check the plane. We will see tomorrow. The weather didn't really make a difference for me today and tomorrow's strategy is to stick to our tactics, stay calm and fly our best flight, we should get through."

Matthias Dolderer

"I'm a little bit surprised that it went this well. But when I went out there, I thought that I had nothing to lose and my goal is to roll from the back this time. I really had fun out there, it's my kind of track, and I hope I can repeat it three times tomorrow. There is some tension of course, some really strong pilots, and especially Matt – I don't know where he lost it, he was so consistent – but it's Qualifying so there are only some handshakes but no points yet. Tomorrow is another day. I can't promise that I will win this, but I will try to go out there three times with the same mindset I did today, and then it should work that we get a little bit further than last time. Cool, calm and collected."

François Le Vot

"We had very good training sessions and were very happy with the flights. It showed we could achieve quite good timings. In the Quali, I don't know what happened to me. Maybe I was too confident. I tried to push it a little bit harder and maybe it was too hard. We ended up with not a very good time and tomorrow will be another day. I'm usually better with the first flight of the day so we'll see tomorrow."

Pete McLeod

"It was the best time for me so far this week on this track, so I'm pretty satisfied. I went out and did what I needed to do. Unfortunately the plane isn't going as fast as I'd like it to and I think it's going to be pretty tough to get any more speed out of it. The conditions have calmed down out there and you can pretty much put the raceplane anywhere you want in the track. Late in the day the sun comes into play, but I don't think anyone has anything to complain about. I've been doing this a long time and we've seen that anything can happen. You need to be fast but you also need luck on your side. I've been fast but unlucky, so maybe this is my time to be a little slow and be a bit lucky. I'm just going to push to be successful."

Kirby Chambliss

"I'm not too satisfied; I mean we were faster in the earlier session by more than a second and I really don't know where I lost it. I flew the same line and thought I was going to be really fast. I came out of the track and saw the time, so we have to go back and figure out what I did wrong. We know where we can be fast, we've just to figure it out and then go and do it!"

Juan Velarde

"I'm happy with my flight and how Quali went. Especially after this morning, where we changed our tactic, but it didn't work. Today we turned to the more aggressive tactic we had yesterday and the result was there. I don't know about the rest of the guys, but I improved my time by 1.5s, but I still feel there is more room to go. The wind wasn't difficult today, but it has been a shift in the direction and we have been adapting our lines. Tomorrow is meant to be similar tomorrow, so all our data will be valid."

Ben Murphy

"We were using yesterday's Free Practice as an experiment with different winglets, and we also changed a few of the engine settings as well, and that's what worked for us. Our raw times were 52.5s in both runs in Free Practice 3. So we knew we'd unlocked some pace, and the plan for today for Quali was just to go out, put a clean run down – not as fast as we could push it, but something safe. Then we could have a go on the second run. We got the clean run in, and we're back to being competitive again, so it's good."

Petr Kopfstein

"I felt it wasn't that bad, but timewise I thought it was going to be much better. We did everything as planned, but the time was disappointing. The plane didn't perform as expected, it could be the setup of the leaning mixture – we have to analyse our data. The wind is different, but I'm not going to blame the weather or the wind, we just need to find the right setup of the engine."

Cristian Bolton

"The Quali was not good. My time was really bad so we knew we were going to be in last place; I'm not happy. I don't know what the problems were yet, I'm going to have to check it later. The conditions were good. It wasn't bumpy and it was good conditions for flying – that wasn't a factor in my time."

Nicolas Ivanoff
"I tried to do better than before and learn from my previous mistakes in my earlier flights. I need to be smooth but as aggressive as possible, but it's really hard to find both. But my time compared to the previous flight is good. I haven't flown the right line yet but I'm getting closer. I have to move the rudder less because it's causing a lot of drag."

Tomorrow the Master Class pilots will go head to head in the Round of 14 from 1300 local time. Catch all the action HERE.