19 April 2009
Qualifying still not satisfying drivers
Far from salving the concerns of drivers opposed to the qualifying format the opened the 2009 V8 Supercar Series in Adelaide last month, the addition of a short second session on Sunday morning has drawn just as much criticism.
While those involved have admitted that there is a need to run a session to decide the grid for the weekend's second race - indeed, it is what they campaigned for after the process of deciding ensuing line-ups on the basis of race results - they now believe that the duration and timing of the addition
While not the worst affected at the Hamilton 400, reigning series champion Jamie Whincup suggested that the whole process of deciding the grid was becoming 'artificial'
“I was annoyed, I must admit, with what happened,” the TeamVodafone driver told BigPond Sport after losing a potential pole lap to a red flag late in the session, “It was pretty much a lottery in a way, [and] we don't want to get to the stage where we are drawing numbers out of the hat to determine starting positions. We need [a qualifying session for the Sunday race], but 20 minutes with only a five minute extension regardless is a little tough.
“We don't see the quickest car on pole or start the race from the front. I know that's what the category wants, but it is a little bit artificial, [and] I think we can do something better in the future.”
Whincup admitted, however, that he wasn't sure of the best solution to the problem and, despite rumours of another change before Winton in two weeks' time, the organisers appear to be in the same boat.
The Hamilton qualifying session was red-flagged after Supercheap Auto's Tim Slade crashed and, while Whincup was miffed to find his potential shot at pole ruled out, he did at least start from fourth on the grid. Team BOC's Jason Richards and Toll HRT drivers Garth Tander and Will Davison - all likely frontrunners - were restricted to 18th, 19th and 20th when the session was not restarted.
Slade, meanwhile, expressed his concern that the timing of the session did allow enough of a gap for his team to repair the damage from his accident and get him out for race two.
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