Chiba 2019 Reactions: Master Class Qualifying

The pilots got one last look at the track before the final race, here’s how they think they did

In testing conditions the Master Class pilots took to the track in Chiba for Qualifying. Here are their thoughts on their performances…

Martin Sonka
“It’s a very interesting track and the wind shifted 90 degrees, more or less, compared to training and Qualifying. The lines are different. I’m very happy with the result. It’s a pity it wasn’t first place, but with all the pilots flying so fast it's a good result for us.”

Matt Hall
“It’s going to be hard to win the Championship from here because Martin is very fast. The track slowed down in Qualifying today, so after Yoshi and I didn’t get points I was thinking he wouldn’t get any points either. And after his first run that was the case, but then he had an amazing time in the second run. We have to go and look at what it is with our aircraft, and my line and flying style. I was happy with my flight, I don't think I could’ve milked anything else out of it. But the big points are tomorrow.”

Yoshihide Muroya
“The wind made it difficult to get through Gate 2, but in these conditions I think I did the best job I could. I’m now two more points away from Sonka, but I will do my best tomorrow and see what the result is.”

Ben Murphy
“We’ve had better days, it’s been a bit of a frustrating week really. I’ve just not been able to get in the groove. The team has been fantastic. We’re working out the reasons why it’s just not coming together for us. There was no excuse for the pylon hit. I knew the second run had to be clean and penalty-free. It wasn’t particularly quick and we find ourselves up against the home hero tomorrow.”

Michael Goulian
“The flight was awesome, it was everything I wanted it to be. I was super surprised that I got a call saying I went over the Track Limit Line after Gate 9 – it never entered our minds that we might do that. We’re going to look at our telemetry and see if it’s right. I was super happy with my flying; I’m going to do that three times tomorrow and go win a race.”

Nicolas Ivanoff
“I didn’t fly well and I’m last, but I didn’t find the right way to fly well. I have no excuse; it’s my fault. Tomorrow it will be a different day and I hope to find the feeling in the plane. We have to think about tomorrow, not today.”

Juan Velarde
“I’m super happy with the results so far. I give this first position in Qualifying to the team. I think the key element was to keep focused throughout all the Free Practices. Today in Quali, the first run wasn’t that good, but the second run was more focused. I also played it a little more aggressive, especially in the Vertical Turning Manoeuvre number 2. I think that’s where I got the good time. Let’s see how the conditions are for tomorrow, because they might change quite a lot. I am confident that if we keep working this way, and I keep flying clean and aggressive at the same time, we can do a good race tomorrow.” 

Mika Brageot
“Qualifying wasn’t the best flight I have performed in my Air Race career. I was a little bit surprised by the conditions, I didn’t not prepare for this. From Gate 1 to 2 went well, and then onto the Chicane I felt like I was behind the plane. Otherwise, it’s still the same track, so hopefully I will relax and rest for tomorrow and put the pressure on the others in the Round of 14.”

Pete McLeod
“It’s not the Qualifying I know I can do. In the first run I made a small mistake and things came off the rails really quickly from there. A couple of small mistakes turn into a line where you’re really chasing the aeroplane, so I just decided to end the run and reset. Unfortunately I got a penalty in the second run, but we’ll get some rest tonight and hopefully feel good tomorrow. But I know what I need to do out there.”

Kirby Chambliss 
“We’re having some issues with the aeroplane; performance is down on the motor. I’m trying to make up for it the best I can, but with the penalties it doesn’t help at all. I’m just trying to do everything I can. Plus we’re having a heating issue where all the heat is coming into the aeroplane, so I can’t close the vents as it’s so hot in there.”

Cristian Bolton
“It’s not good, I got a bad time and a DQ on the first run, I don’t know why. From my perspective I didn’t think I was out but it was the call and I have to deal with it. We going to see how the wind is tomorrow, it’ll be a big deal and might change all our lines.”

François Le Vot
There is a little downwind on the entry that changed a lot of things; the pylons come quicker. I was comfortable flying the same strategy as the training and nothing dramatically changed. I had fun and that’s the most important thing. I’ve prepared well and been studying this track for a long time. I came here well prepared, but I don’t make any improvements from FP1 until now. I still need to find some tenths of seconds." 

Petr Kopfstein 
“It’s really hot and the performance of the aeroplane was down. I probably didn't get the mixture right, but it’s another flight that was clean with no penalties. I was just expecting it to be quicker. I will check the weather in the morning, check the conditions and then decide what strategy we go for in the morning.”

Matthias Dolderer
“I am quite satisfied with my last qualifier in the Red Bull Air Race. There is certainly something to improve on, but I am keeping a very relaxed approach to Race Day. Now it is time to analyse my flight, but it is certainly little things that I have to fix. My time is close to first place and we will decide later what our plan for tomorrow will be.”

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