Top Tactics See Velarde Claim Qualifying In Chiba
Spanish hero Juan Velarde flew the perfect racing line in difficult conditions to win Qualifying ahead of tomorrow’s race and take three World Championship points.
Velarde’s tactic was to fly the second VTM at a near-flat level where the majority of his rivals flew almost vertical. This seemed to keep the energy in Velarde’s Edge more than for the other pilots and give him the overall advantage. He set a time of 56.760s, which was enough to see him top.
Martin Sonka was closest to Velarde but was only able to post a time of 56.879s, a mere 0.119s slower. Although he would have preferred to win, he collects two points and extends his lead over Matt Hall to six points.
Third place, and one World Championship point, went to François Le Vot, who has been flying consistently well all week. His time of 57.052s was 0.292s off the top spot. Matthias Dolderer seemed to have a change of fortunes compared to the FP sessions and stopped the clock with a time of 57.159s, good enough to see him fourth on the timesheet.
Yoshihide Muroya and Matt Hall – the other two pilots in the hunt for the title, couldn’t get near the top in Qualifying. The home race hero finished fifth and Hall was seventh. They were split by Petr Kopfstein who crossed the Finish Gate with a time of 57.777s.
Michael Goulian could only finish eighth and without those three points ended his chance of winning the World Championship, but could still finish on the overall podium, as could Ben Murphy who finished 10th. The British pilot had to perform a Safety Climb Out (SCO) during his first run after a pylon hit, so could only set one valid time.
Pete McLeod, who set the pace in FP3, could only finish in 11th. He was unable to fly penalty-free and it cost him.
The pilots will now be focusing on tomorrow’s race and you can follow all the action live right here on the website.