Florian Bergér was unstoppable in the track today and claimed the top spot with a time of 57.073s. He had been struggling in the week but put in a perfect performance to claim 10 points in the first race.
Daniel Ryfa was on track to beat Bergér, hitting every split time quicker, but at the penultimate gate Ryfa clipped a pylon. That penalty gave him a final time of 59.420s and saw him drop to fifth, a huge disappointment for the title challenger.
Luke Czepiela came closest to Berger, but he was still 1.460s slower than the German pilot. The third podium spot went to Kevin Coleman who had been improving all week and will be pleased to start his season this way.
Dario Costa, competing in his first race, looked nervous heading to his raceplane, but he flew cleanly and crossed the Finish Gate in 59.418s, which would have eased his nerves. His time was good enough to see him fourth on the leaderboard, a great result in his first race.
The other new pilot Patrick Davidson was first to fly and set a time of 1:00.544, which included a two second penalty. That time saw him finish sixth but that performance in his first ever race will give him a boost going forward.
Daniel Genevey was last to fly and picked up a two second penalty for an over-G, which saw him finish seventh in the first race of the year.
Abu Dhabi 2018 Challenger Cup results