Abu Dhabi 2019: Challenger Class Qualifying Reactions
It was the last session for the Challengers before their first race of the season. Here’s how they feel going into the season opener.
“It was OK today, I didn’t fly at full force. I’m pleased I’m not flying first tomorrow which is always a relief. The second lap was fast with just a tiny over-G, so if I avoid that it’ll be good and I like my chances."
“This felt more or less the same as the recent days. I struggled a little with my lines – I found it a bit smoother yesterday. But I’m quite happy with it and I will try to do the same tomorrow. I hope the conditions will be as perfect as today – there was no wind and it was quite good. I would say there are a lot of key points to this track. For example, the turn in the north to the Start Gate and the angle through that gate, and also the Vertical Turning Manoeuvre. We will see what happens tomorrow.”
“The smoke penalty was out of my control. I don’t know if it was a technical problem, but the switch was on and everything was good to go. It’s kind of a bummer because without that one second penalty I would have been first. First to last – but I was happy with the flying, and I’ll just do the same thing tomorrow and hopefully the smoke will work when I turn the switch on.”
“It’s always hard to go first, it’s the worst position. But I just take what I have, and I always feel lucky to be here racing. I really enjoyed the track, and the plan is working as I expected. I flew a clean lap, and tomorrow the guys will have a lot of pressure because our times are so tight. I’m really taking it easy [mentally], and I hope I can keep this mindset tomorrow, because if I can it should be really good.”
“Today was rewarding, it was still not perfect, but I think I will have something to say tomorrow, but everything I wanted to happen did and it was only at 90 per cent. I’m only 0.2s from the top, which is good and the plan is going correctly. I’m fourth now and if it was the race today, it would’ve been like last year, but I think I’m a lot better than last year, so I’m a lot more happier. We are all so close and anything can happen tomorrow.”
“For me today couldn’t have gone better. It was a clean, penalty-free flight and the conditions were perfect. I flew the lines I wanted to fly. I flew exactly how I wanted to and this is a huge confidence boost going into my first race tomorrow.”