V8 Supercars Australia may have changed the controversial qualifying rule which debuted at the season-opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, but its replacement will take some getting used to, according to HRT duo Garth Tander and Will Davison.
Introducing a format that saw one qualifying session apply to both races on a V8 weekend went down like a lead balloon among the drivers, who could see that a problem during the timed knock-out session would lead to a tough weekend and wanted a return to a system that would give them a fair chance of fighting for victory in at least of the two scheduled races. The previous format of starting races two and three using the results of the race immediately preceding them has been eschewed by series organisers, however, with a second qualifying session - without the threat of knock-out and no Top Ten Shoot-out - being inserted into Sunday's schedule for all multi-race meetings, starting with the Hamilton 400 this weekend, instead.
“I don't really agree with the way it has been handled and chopped and changed,” Davison admitted, “Changing the rule over the off-season was one thing, but to change it again after one round of competition says to me that it may not have been thought through enough. It's very short notice to be changing the qualifying rules again and there will still be issues with the newest format.”
While he agreed with the change in principal, 2007 series Tander said it wasn't as simple as just adding another qualifying session and would be something drivers needed to adapt to. He also believed the qualifying format needs further fine-tuning.
“I do agree with the rule change, as I don't think the way it was in Adelaide was the best way of rewarding drivers for their efforts on a Saturday,” he admitted, “However, drivers and teams will need to get their heads around needing to qualify again on a Sunday. We are generally used to being in race mode after qualifying on a Saturday so it definitely throws another factor into the mix.
“There's also more intensity with the qualifying format and Top Ten Shootout for race one - just a 20 minute all-in for Sunday's race two will probably still need some tweaking.”
Holden stable-mate David Reynolds was more supportive of the move, the Bundaberg Red Racing rookie aware that it could be more beneficial to him to have a second qualifying session, whenever it took place.
“I think it's good that we have been able to make this change," the youngster commented, "For a rookie like myself, it allows for more track time, more time on new tyres and the opportunity to gain experience in an area that is pretty crucial in racing.
“It is much better than the old rule that didn't offer any reward for moving through the field in the first race, and it clearly suits me as I'll only continue to get quicker as the year goes on."