Wiener Neustadt 2018: Challenger Class FP reactions

First day in the Austrian track, here’s what the Challengers thought

The Challengers watch their rivals

It's a busy weekend for the Challenger Class pilots as some of them will be racing twice. All of them will want to get as many points as possible.

Here's how they think the first day of flying went for them...

Luke Czepiela
"It was interesting. Flying in the rain isn't the best for the aerodynamics of the plane, the guys who flew first in the later session were in a better position. My flights were clean with no penalties, so it wasn't too bad. I'm happy with the way it's going; I'm finding the lines I want. So I have one more session tomorrow and the race on Sunday and I'm feeling good."

Kevin Coleman
"It's all good. The track is pretty much what I thought it was going to be. We tried a few different vertical turns and we have a few more things we want to try. I went pretty fast, and I'm happy with my standing start. There's a few more things I want to try in the VTM, so I will work that out and go from there."

Daniel Ryfa
"It's a lot of fun to be back in the track after such a long break. I like it here, it's a cool track in a nice location. It makes it quite challenging with the standing start to get everything set ready, but it's the same for everyone. I wasn't as fast as I wanted to be, but I have some plans for the next session, maybe they'll work, maybe not, we'll see."

Dario Costa
"It was good today. The first session was just to see the track, I had lots of ideas and tried different stuff and didn't want to push too hard. I wanted to enjoy it. I'm super excited and I love the track which is making me super motivated. I couldn't get the most I wanted out of the raceplane in the later session, I was stalling in the VTM so I couldn't push. In Free Practice it's hard to see if everyone is putting everything in, so I'm not comparing times, I'm just looking at my times. And I like the standing start procedure, everything is so quick there's no waiting."

Melanie Astles
"It was raining a lot in the second session and it was very different because the plane doesn't fly as well. I saw someone climbing in the gate so I tried it, but the judges saw me, so I got a penalty. On the last run I set 1:04.7 which I will stick with, but I have one more session tomorrow, which I can play with before I race."

Patrick Davidson
"I was consistent and that's the main thing. I don't want to make any penalties and it's my first race from a standing start. There's quite a lot to manage with regards setting the raceplane up and being ready to start racing immediately after takeoff – it keeps you busy. I've enjoyed today, it's a cool track, it's long but you sometimes have too much time to think, which can be a bad thing."

Baptiste Vignes
"It was very interesting – it's a new track and the first race over land, so it's quite different. I enjoyed it a lot. The track is very pleasant, it's fast and the standing start is a new thing for me. I need to improve on lots of things, but I think it's getting better so I can't wait to fly tomorrow. It was interesting to see how the plane changes when it's being flown in the rain; it's quite different. I'm racing both days, so I think tomorrow will be good. I'm happy to be here."

Daniel Genevey
"This afternoon was better for me. In the morning I had trouble finding my favourite line, I think I got a better one this afternoon. It was my first standing start, which was interesting, but it's funny how quickly you get used to it. I'm happy with the plane, I'm happy with the track, let's see what the weather will be and let's fly."

Kenny Chiang
"I'm surprised with the time – I'm still playing with the lines a little bit. I think twice in our three runs I infringed safety lines on the vertical turn, so it will be very close. On FP1 I tried the flat turn, which was ambitious! You can clearly see that I was infringing the eastern side of the safety line and now I'm infringing the west side a few times. I like the track a lot. This is my first standing start, and if the conditions can be like this with a standing start I think we definitely need to watch out. I think for the race they're forecasting a tailwind."

The Challenger Class pilots begin their day at 11:00CET with Free Practice 3. Follow all the action HERE.