Kazan 2019: Master Class Reactions FP 1+2

The 14 pilots get their first taste of the Kazan track

The pilots are back in the track after an extended break. They are excited to be competing again. Here's their first impressions of the 2019 Kazan circuit...

Yoshihide Muroya
“It was good! But actually, when you look at net times without penalties, there were really fast times by some other pilots, so we are still working on shaving off a little more time. But our flight quality is very good, very stable, so we are in good shape. I think the Training Camp in Spain was beneficial. I am feeling very relaxed in the track, and some of the other pilots are not, which is understandable after several months off since the last race. But I did a lot of flights in Spain, so that helps me a lot.”

Martin Sonka
“I’m happy that compared to 2018, we’re seeing improvement through the Free Practice sessions, because in Kazan last year we were actually slowing down during those sessions, so that’s positive for this race. I like the track. It’s fast and you don’t have a second to rest, so it’s perfect. Tonight, more analysis. Everything is about the correct trajectory and, of course, those two pull-ups, and we’ll see what the wind will be like tomorrow. Because the wind, especially for the pull-ups, will be a big, big factor. It could be a game-changer, actually.”

Michael Goulian
“It’s been good today, it’s the first time I’ve been in the track since Abu Dhabi, but I felt comfortable in the track straight away. I’ve always liked Kazan and it felt good today. There is a lot happening on the track so it’s easy to be a second slower. And the aircraft is feeling good as well and didn’t have any issues.”

Nicolas Ivanoff
“I expected to feel better in the track today after two days of testing, but after such a long break between the first and second race, I was surprised that I couldn’t fly as I wanted and I felt like I was a passenger in the plane in the first session. I know I have to improve a lot if I want to do well.”

Matt Hall
“Free Practice 2 felt good. In FP1 there was no need to go and push ourselves, it’s been a long time out of the track. So we just went and flew nicely through the track. We had a few little things going on with the plane that needed to be fixed and we cleaned them up between the two sessions. In the second session we tried one thing in the first run, something else in the second run, and then put something together that I thought was the best and got a pretty fast time. We’re happy with where we’re at. We think the weather changed because there were a few guys that were slower than we thought they’d be, so we expect them to be faster tomorrow.”

Juan Velarde
“It’s good to be back in the track and to be racing and competing. We’re catching up after a few months of not flying in the track. I’m just getting back the feeling of the raceplane. The track is very interesting, it’s technical and you have to analyse the lines depending on the wind and you have to fly with your best skills to do it right.” 

Mika Brageot
“It’s good to be back here. We were happy with the flying today and confident with our preparation whether that be mental, technical or physical. Our work paid off with our times today, we’re not top-top, but we’re in the top three, which is a good way to start the race week.”

Kirby Chambliss
“I wasn’t paying attention from Gate 2 to 3 and I tagged the pylon and that made me mad right off the bat, so I tried to reset and get back in there. I’m optimistic that we’ll get it all figured out and I know we can be faster. We couldn’t get over to Europe for the gap between Abu Dhabi and now, which made it difficult for us. I haven't seen my raceplane since Abu Dhabi, but we expect to win and do our best to come out on top.”

Pete McLeod
“We had some raceplane issues, but it was great to be in the track today. I felt good, it didn’t feel like I’d been out of the track for four months, which is a good thing. It’s not a bad track, the weather is cool and I think it will be all weekend so I think the plane is going to have a lot of energy, which will make it a fast track and the extra VTM will be very important. A lot of races will be won and lost on that last turn.”

Petr Kopfstein
“It felt really familiar to be back in this track, so there were no big surprises. Everything is going according to the plan. I was flying a lot between the races and we’ve done a lot of cosmetic stuff to the raceplane. It was really beneficial to fly it a lot and we’ll see how that plays out over here.”

Mathias Dolderer
“The track is fun and fluid, it’s interesting to play around with the VTM so we will see what will be the fastest. Most probably everyone will go vertical the first time and flat the second. It’s good to be back in the track, we’re still playing around, but we’ll get there.”

François Le Vot
“The track was easy to get through and pleasant to be in. I’ve always liked the Kazan track, and it's very similar to last year. It’s good to be here and I'll try to fully enjoy the experience." 

Ben Murphy 
“It was a really important flight today because it’s been a while since the first race. We have to get back into the rhythm of race week. The aeroplane felt fast so lots of small positives to take away from that. But the big positive is that we’re racing again.”

Cristian Bolton
“It’s great to be back in the track and I’m really happy with my training flight. We were able to test our tactics for the week, which was good. It’s the same track with some of the gates moved a couple of metres, but even one metre can make a big difference, so it’s always interesting. It’s a great track – the aviation team have done a great job.”

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