Germany's Matthias Dolderer enjoyed a double celebration in Fort Worth this afternoon as he not only took the win in the Qualifying session, but also set a new track record with a stunning full-throttle 55.584s.
The surprise result has come as a much-needed confidence boost for Dolderer, who has previously struggled to achieve optimum performance despite a decent raceplane setup.
It was Bonhomme and Hall who headed into the session as the clear contenders for the Qualifying win, as the British and Australian World Championship title rivals enjoyed solid performances in their Training sessions. But neither pilot looked to be pushing too hard in the last flying sessions of the day, perhaps preferring to clock in a satisfactory time and err on the side of caution ahead of the knock-out rounds tomorrow on Race Day.
It was also a day of suspense and surprise as Japan's Yoshi Muroya held off McLeod, Bonhomme, Chambliss and Hall, clocking in at 55.610. The Japanese pilot held the top spot on the timesheets, before being knocked into the runner-up spot by Dolderer and his new track record.
Hall appeared to be putting in a cautious run for his Qualifying session, seeming to struggle to find the horsepower necessary to match both Dolderer and Muroya's speed. Hall ultimately finished in fourth place overall, with McLeod keeping a lid on his aggressive style and honing his racing lines to finish in third with 55.621. Chambliss also retained his form in front of a home crowd to finish in fifth, but claims that he still needs to find a way overnight to knock off a second to get him back on a podium.