Florian Bergér was the only pilot to fly under one-minute in the Free Practice sessions of the Challenger Class today. The German pilot flew the perfect run in Free Practice 2 posting a time of 59.172s. He was more than a second quicker than second placed Daniel Ryfa, who finished with a time of 1:00.540.
Ben Murphy was third on the timesheet in Free Practice 2 and was only 1.756s behind Bergér, Luke Czepiela posted a slow time in his first run and then clipped a pylon in his second, which would see him finish fourth in the afternoon session.
Behind Czepiela was Melanie Astles, who topped the timesheet in Free Practice 1, but was unable to improve on her first session. New Challenger Class pilot, Baptiste Vignes, was sixth, just 2.744s off the lead and Coleman, who had been struggling for speed finished bottom in the afternoon session.
Free Practice 1 was a hotly contested session as well, with all seven pilots flying within three seconds of each other. In the first session Melanie Astles flew the quickest time, she crossed the Finish Gate in 1:01.380, and was just 0.023s faster than current Challenger Class Champion Florian Berger.
Luke Czepiela finished Free Practice 1 in third position with 2016 Abu Dhabi race winner Daniel Ryfa behind him. Ben Murphy finished fifth crossing the finish line in 1:02.737, which was 1.347s off Astles time. Kevin Coleman was behind him and new pilot Baptiste Vignes was last. But the French pilot making his debut flew cleanly and said afterwards: "I was excited to fly in the track. There were lots of sensations and I have lots of information I need to learn and understand. I'm learning a lot by watching the other Challengers and Masters."
Challenger Class Free Practice 1
Challenger Class Free Practice 2
Tomorrow will see the Challenger Class pilots in Qualifying action, follow all the excitement HERE!