Abu Dhabi 2019: Challenger Cup reactions

The season opener is complete, the Challengers have the final say

As with any sport there are those who are happy with their performance, and those who are not. Here's what the pilots thought of the 2019 Challenger Class season opener...

1st Florian Bergér
“I’m very happy. I’m missing words because I just jumped out of the plane, but it’s a very nice feeling to get some points directly at the beginning of the championship. The conditions were nice, the aeroplane was running good and I was calm before the race – I think this is very important for me. I’m definitely in the hunt for the trophy, but it’s still early, and another very important thing for me is spending time with these pilots. But I do want to get the title back.”

2nd Melanie Astles
“I was really happy about my run, and I changed my tactics completely on Gates 7 to 8. So this is where I had the over-G because I wanted to get a big angle and I had to pull strong. I didn’t train for it, so it was like a discovery flight on Race Day. I knew after Quali I had to take the risk – I’d rather finish last because I tried, than finishing last and having a nice flight. I’m relieved because I’m working hard and the level is getting higher and higher. It’s getting tough.”

3rd Kevin Coleman
“I decided to be a bit conservative on Gate 7 – I decided to leave a little bit of G out there because of yesterday’s penalty. That gave me a good clean time, which I know would put pressure on the other guys. It’s hard to beat Florian, he goes out there and does the impossible sometimes. I've got good points to start the season with. I’m happy for Sammy this week, he flew really well and got close to the podium."

4th Sammy Mason
“I was happy... I flew the line I wanted to fly, which was the same as yesterday. I managed to squeak a little bit more time out of my Qualifying time. I would like to have been on the podium, but I’m happy for my first race. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and hoping I can get on the podium soon.”

5th Dario Costa
“I don't know what happened. I have to check. Maybe it was an over-lean, I just don’t know. It felt perfect out there – I wasn’t expecting such a slow time, and was ahead until the last VTM, so probably something happened there. I have to check and see, but it’s part of sport."

6th Luke Czepiela
“I only knew I’d exceeded the G-limit after the run was over and I looked down at the G-meter. It was a screw up that’s all I can say. I felt really good in the plane and I felt it would be podium time for sure. The other guys are doing so well, so I will have to do my best to catch them up.”

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