The six pilots of the Challenger Cup have completed their first day of flying and had the chance to work out some early lines ahead of Race Day.
In Free Practice 1 German pilot Florian Bergér laid down the fastest time with the clock being stopped at 1:07.670. Daniel Ryfa, who has the most experience in the Spielberg track, was only 0.336s slower. Cristian Bolton, who is flying here for the first time, was third fastest, but he would've been quickest if he hadn't picked up a one-second penalty for insufficient smoke. After topping the timesheet Berger was already focusing on tomorrow's flying: "This is like a home race for me – being able to fly in the mountains with all the trees and obstacles is great. Tonight I'll analyse my videos and try to optimise my lines for Qualifying."
In both sessions Francis Barros finished fourth, and Kevin Coleman, fifth and Melanie Astles finished sixth in her first Free Practice sessions of the season.
In Free Practice 2 the top two switched as Ryfa collected a fastest time of 1:08.844, with Bergér just 0.083s behind. "This track is great – it's my third time in Spielberg, and I think now I have things figured out to know how to make the best times. It's risk management here: you have to risk penalties, but if you can do that and have a clean flight, that's the way to win," said Ryfa after his second flight of the day. Bolton posted the third fastest time again and was pleased with his first day of flying in Spielberg: "This is an amazing track – more complicated than a track like Abu Dhabi. I put in a good time and I'm happy."
Challenger Cup Free Practice 1 results:
Challenger Cup Free Practice 2 results: