Abu Dhabi 2017 Reactions: Challenger Class Free Practice

Early opinions of the Abu Dhabi track

The Challenger Class pilots have completed their first day in the first track of 2017, which saw some exciting flying and Florian Bergér breaking the one-minute barrier. We hear what they think of the Abu Dhabi racetrack...

Daniel Ryfa
"I enjoyed my flying today; it's a relatively fast track, I like it. I'm satisfied with my times, but I need to go faster to win. I won here last year and I plan to do it again. I'll be working on my lines this evening to make sure I'm faster in the track tomorrow."

Kevin Coleman
"I felt really good out there, I'm flying clean and I felt confident. I tried a couple of different things in the second section and they didn't work out. The problem is I need to get better on the vertical turn and I need to find some speed. I need to be faster throughout the whole track."

Florian Bergér
"It's a lot of fun out there and I think my times were fast. I've made a few mistakes and collected penalties. I need to improve on the back section of the track after the vertical turn at Gate 3. I'm feeling the pressure this year. Last year the pressure was mainly nerves, this year I don't want to make mistakes in front of the new guys and that adds pressure."

Ben Murphy
"It's a great track and the more I fly it, the more improvements there are. I was disappointed with my run this morning, but this afternoon's flight was much better. You've got to get the vertical turn right or you're out of the game. There are also several different ways to take Gate 10 – that's also where it could be won and lost. I think there will only be 0.5s between everyone come Race Day – but that's racing!"

Mélanie Astles
"I enjoyed it lots out there today. Now I have my own plane at home I can fly more, which means I have more time in the track to focus on the other details of racing. I'm so happy to be racing in Abu Dhabi, because it's such a beautiful place."

Luke Czepiela
"It's a nice flowing track and I hope I will do well here. Last year I set really good times in Qualifying and was over enthusiastic on Race Day. I pulled too hard on the stick causing a stall so I'm going to avoid that this year."

Baptiste Vignes
"I was excited to fly in the track. There were lots of sensations and I have lots of information I need to learn and understand. I'm learning a lot by watching the other Challengers and Masters. I will take my time to find the right lines and concentrate on being safe. But it's amazing to be here. Six months ago I wouldn't have believed I could be here at the Red Bull Air Race."