Bish, bash, bosh. Qualifying is in the bag here in Andorra and quite the spicy appetizer it proved to be ahead of the big show tomorrow. If you're a tech fanatic you'll be delighted, or perhaps somewhat confused, to hear that 27.5 hoops set the fastest time on the mountain; if you're more of a humanist then the man to do it was one-time WC winner Troy Brosnan. Series leader, señor Minnaar, was predictably in hot pursuit, less than a second back and getting faster all the way down, quickly followed by Loris Vergier, Aaron Gwin and Loic Bruni.
Tracey Hannah set a fiery pace for the women, leading out Vallnord-sponsored Myriam Nicole by just a single second in a match that will surely make for some great edge-of-seat viewing for finals. It was then a 7 second gap back to surprise third place qualifier Marine Cabirou, with Seagrave and Carpenter both well in touch, while Atherton clearly struggled with her shoulder, 15 seconds adrift. More must-watch racing is on the menu in the juniors, with Finn Iles keeping Matt Walker at bay by a meager 0.2 with a massive 6 second gap on the rest of the field.
Conditions for qualies were prime as can be, with a beautiful clear morning turning overcast, but the dirt stayed dry and tacky until close of play when heavy rains fell once again. The Saturday forecast looks admittedly dicey later in the afternoon, but luck may be on the riders' sides as it is supposed to hold off just long enough to get this thing settled and in the books for another year.