Chiba 2019 Reactions: Challenger Class FP 1 & 2
It’s hot over the Makuhari Bay today, and the pilots are feeling the heat... but loving the track. Here’s how they felt Free Practice went…
“In the morning, especially the first run, I had a lot of penalties – I even had a pylon hit. I was behind the airplane and I struggled a little bit in the first part of the racetrack. Then it got better but I was over the Track Limit Line. So I had to figure out a different way. In Free Practice 2, it went better, but in the second run I again had penalties for crossing the Track Limit Line. I am trying to get it as close as possible there, but it’s not easy. Last time I was here , there was no Track Limit Line. If the wind shifts this weekend, it will probably be easier to stay inside the line, and it could be a completely different story. So I have to be flexible, that’s the thing here.”
“There were many variations in the track. Overall today has been a data gathering exercise; I’m healthy and happy. I incurred my first pylon hit since Kazan 2017, so it was actually nice to get one out of the way now, so hopefully not get one on Race Day. I’ve checked out all the limits and now it’s time to come up with a game plan on Sunday. This is as close to a home race as it can be for me, so it’s really nice. I have more than 30 people coming to watch so I’m very excited.”
“Free Practice 1 was really good. Got everything done I had on my check list, I felt really good in the track, and flew the line I wanted to. In FP2 I had a little bit of a different plan. The wind picked up and I had a gate hit, which was a bit of a bummer. I was able to regroup and had a good run. I know where I can make up time, and if I can do my job and put it together I should do a good job.”
“It’s super hot, I think we’re getting close to 50 degrees in the cockpit. It’s a workout. I like the track, it’s quite similar to Balaton. I can’t work out why the aircraft is going slow. I’m happy with the lines and with my flying, so I must be doing something wrong. Maybe with the mixture, but I have to work it out. Hopefully it’s back to my good old days where I mess up the practice but get it right in the race."
“It went quite good this morning, I only got one penalty and that was for insufficient smoke, which is not my fault. Overall I’m quite happy. The track is fast. I need to be careful at Gate 1, 2 and 3. It’s very good to be close to Flo, but I need to look at the line and keep focus. The problem is we need to take an angle at Gate 1 to 2 to get a good angle for 3, otherwise you will have a very hard angle and a lot of G for the first gate of the chicane. If you are late at the first chicane pylon, you will probably hit one. Its happened to some pilots already, so you need to be careful of this.”
“The second time in the track was fine. The first time I didn’t get along well with a certain pylon in the chicane, but FP2 was fine. I can still speed it up, I just wanted to be safe and clean, but I can still go closer to the chicane and maybe pull a bit earlier in the VTM. I wasn’t in full race mode, but I will probably try that in FP3 before Qualifying.”