Welcome to the first round of the Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi! In this article, I'll be doing a play-by-play of what's happening during qualifying day. All times displayed in Abu Dhabi local time (+4 GMT).
17:20: Well, that's it! See you tomorrow for the race!
17:15: Nigel Lamb is ready to roll! He wants to register his first win and in want of catching Arch. He sets a time of 1:31.87 after touching a gate. He could've had the best time...
17:12: Paul Bonhomme is out for Arch! He registers his best time with a 1:28.85 with no penalties!
17:09: Peter Besenyei still has trouble with his MXS. He registers a 1:33.13 with a two-second penalty for incorrect level flying.
17:05: Kirby Chambliss flies a nice, clean, albeit slow, race. He registers a 1:34.70 with no penalties.
17:02: Matt Hall flies in with a clean run. He registers a 1:32.52. Beautiful flight for a rookie and he seems to be making the other pilots nervous!
16:57: Mike Mangold is out, and he hits a pylon! He seems to be having trouble, so he leaves the course and is DQ'd!
16:53: World Champion Hannes Arch flies in with an amazing race! He registers a 1:26.33. A NEW COURSE RECORD! It looks like Arch will take the one point...
16:47: Alejandro Maclean is up next. He flies an impressive race, but if not for a gate touch, his time would've showed how good it was! He registers a 1:36.14.
16:44: The pylon going down was quite strange, but anyhow, it's Rakhmanin who goes through with a 1:35.74. He receives a two-second penalty for incorrect knife flying. He looked like he had it...
16:33: Yoshi Muroya is DQ'd for flying too low! What a shame. As well, a pylon goes down, possibly defective.
16:31: Glen Dell is back on form after a bad first run! He registers a 1:38.99 with a two-second penalty for flying too high.
16:28: Matthias Dolderer improves on his DQ from earlier. He registers a 1:40.22 with a two-second penalty.
16:25: Pete McLeod has put in another good and mature run. He registers a 1:38.67 with no penalties. Two runs in a row without a penalty!
16:19: Welcome to Qualifying Two! Nicolas Ivanoff got us started off with a 1:30.25. Fastest time yet, but Ivanoff touched a gate!
16:11: It seems like Michael Goulian has been disqualified from Q2 because his aircraft was infringing the rules. His qualifying times will stay, but he can't compete in Q2. Shame...
16:00: Well, that's it for Qualifying One. Stay tuned as I bring more play-by-plays for Qualifying Two, which should happen in a few minutes!
15:54: Nigel Lamb is last and sets a time of 1:30.21. He has no penalties, but is now second to Ivanoff with Bonhomme relegated to third.
15:51: Paul Bonhomme puts in a great time of 1:30.3 with no penalties. He is second to Ivanoff right now!
15:48: Peter Besenyei makes his debut in the MXS and sets a good time of 1:33.09, just 0.87 seconds faster than his teammate Chambliss!
15:45: Kirby Chambliss has just finished his run at an impressive 1:33.96. No penalties and a good start for the American.
15:35: Mike Mangold, the double world champion from 2005 and 2007, sets a time of 1:34.11. No penalties, but Ivanoff still has an advantage over the other pilots—still!
15:32: Hannes Arch is up, and the 2008 champion sets a time of 1:32.17. He's slower than Ivanoff, who is still leading up to now!
15:29: Michael Goulian starts and sets a time of 1:37.53 with no penalties.
15:25: Alejandro Maclean starts in his Blackberry-laden MXS. He has no penalties and a time of 1:33.65.
15:20: Sergey Rakhmanin starts and completes his course with a 1:41.05. He has eight seconds in penalties! Six seconds for touching a gate and two seconds for flying too high. He touches the same gate that Muroya has, so we have another cleanup in effect.
15:13: Yoshi Muroya completes his course but has acquired 10 seconds in penalty points! One six-second penalty for touching a gate and two two-second penalties for flying too high. The touched gate is being cleaned up, and Muroya sets a time of 1:43.18.
15:10: Glen Dell is up next with a starting that looks disciplined, but it has fallen apart for him! He gets a total of six seconds in penalties and a time of 1:40.31.
15:05: We have Matthias Dolderer who is disqualified! Reason being for exceeding the air speed limit here. Exact opposite of McLeod!
15:02: Up next is Canadian Pete McLeod, who sets a time of 1:39.12 with zero penalties in his RBAR debut!
15:00: Nicolas Ivanoff sets his time at 1:31.04 with four seconds of penalties. Fastest time so far...
15:00: The dust and smog is clearing this afternoon as it looks to be a beautiful day here for Round One of qualifying here in Abu Dhabi.
14:45: There are about 15 minutes left until Qualifying One. The hosts for the Red Bull Air Race are showing videos and review of 2008 along with rookie expectations. Stay tuned!
14:15: Red Bull Air Race media pilot Sergio Pla is performing some maneuvers for the crowds here at the Corniche. Sergio is demonstrating the types of maneuvers that are done in the Air Race. The Race Director is a new fellow by the name of Jim DiMatteo. My viewpoint from the media centre is decent for the pre-show festivities, but best for viewing the race.