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Germany’s Dolderer fastest in Abu Dhabi qualifying

Red Bull pilots thrill the crowds on capital’s Corniche

Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Matthias Dolderer of Germany in action during the qualifying round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at the picturesque Abu Dhabi Corniche on Friday.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Germany’s Matthias Dolderer may have struggled with G-force limit all through practice but when it mattered most he put up the fastest time of 52.795 seconds to finish at the top in the qualifying round of the Red Bull Air Race at the picturesque Abu Dhabi Corniche on Friday.

Michael Goulian, who had been consistent all through practice, picked up pace in the second run and that was enough for him to take the second spot with a time of 53.392 seconds.

“It could kill my race and so we will have to think about the tactics tomorrow. The goal is to be consistent and try and avoid the penalties.””
-Matthias Dolderer| German pilot
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The capital track has never been a happy hunting ground for Yoshi Muroya of Japan but the defending world champion seems to be keen on setting that record straight.

Muroya, whose best performance here so far has been a sixth place, was third in the qualifying with a timing of 53.404 seconds.

“I always try to go to the maximum to get the best speed and time. My tactician always tell me to come down but it doesn’t work. When I’m at Gate 3 or Gate 7, I just have to push and I don’t know what to do,” said Dolderer adding that he will have to find a way to get rid of going over G.

“It could kill my race and so we will have to think about the tactics tomorrow. The goal is to be consistent and try and avoid the penalties,” added Dolderer, who will go head-to-head in the round of 14 with bottom-placed Matt Hall of Australia, who failed to clock a time, earning only a DNF result.

Goulian said: “We have been training here whole week and we had a plan and we were sticking to that plan. We will try everybody to catch us and that’s our plan. We have worked on this race plane for four years now making small increments. We have a brilliant plane and I just have to equal with performance.”

Fourth on the time sheet was Frenchman Mika Brageot while last year’s Abu Dhabi winner Czech Martin Sonka and countryman Petr Kopfstein finished seventh and eighth and will go head-to-head in the Round of 14.

Britain’s Ben Murphy, newcomer to the Master Class took an impressive ninth place in the qualifying.

“It was good fun, we have be laying out some consistent time. We were not the quickest but we were looking to lay down a nice solid first run and could have been quicker on the second but a little over G. To be in the 53 seconds was nice,” said Murphy.

In the Challenger Class, Sweden’s Daniel Ryfa has sent in a strong warning that he is keen on completing a hat-trick of titles here at the capital track by setting the fastest time of 58.293 seconds.

Ryfa, who has won here in the last two races, was the fastest even in the final free practice in which he clocked 58.285 seconds run.

Polish pilot Like Czepiela was the second fastest with a time of 58.576 seconds while German Florian Berger set a time of 58.650 to finish third in the qualifying.

“I was comfortable today and I think I have everything more or less set up for the track. From the pilot’s perspective I have the small individual parts worked out, especially considering the VTM and the set up for Gates 6, 7, 8,” said Ryfa adding that he was still trying to increase the G in the VTM because he was not pulling too hard.

“I think I could go a little bit faster, but then I will increase the risk of getting a penalty, this is the problem and this is what I’m working towards, I’m feeling really good otherwise and feeling good for tomorrow, so I will continue in the same direction and fly the same line.”