By Matthew Agius.

Vee Eight Supercars Australia have decided to scarp the controversial reverse-grid racing format for the final four rounds of 2005, and are expected to never reintroduce the format in the near future.

Having run with the format at four rounds already this year, and with two more events remaining with the format before the endurance races, the V8 Supercar board decided to scrap the somewhat controversial race-two grid system - effective immediately after the Super Cheap Auto 1000.

The news provides a better alternative for teams during the longer four-event run to the end of the season after the endurance races. With events such as Surfers Paradise and Symmons Plains providing very few passing opportunities under normal grid circumstances, and the presence of an untried Bahrain championship event on the calendar, it seems as though the highly-criticised format has been scrapped amidst a bout of common-sense from the board.

Of the twelve races held in sprint rounds this year, non-finishing entries have average approximately five retirements in reverse-grid races, compared to three retirements in the first and last races for the weekend. Of the reverse-grid races, the highest retirement count was eight (at Pukekohe), whilst the lowest has been three (at Barbagallo and Hidden Valley.

Probably the biggest factor stopping the success of reverse-grid races has been the substantial increase of the gap between the fastest and slowest cars. Last year, this margin became reduced to below a second at many rounds, however has increased to over two seconds at many events this year - with more rookies driving less-developed machinery at rounds in 2006.

Other issues leading to the scrapping of reverse-grids included the high costs repairing machinery from collisions, and also the disappointing response from fans in addition to disapproval to many teams and drivers, with the likes of big-name drivers Craig Lowndes, Greg Murphy, Steven Richards and Russell Ingall all speaking out against the format which produced misleading results when compared to car speed throughout the weekend.

With only half points being offered for reverse-grid races, the switch back to normal starting orders will result in a change to the points system. Now, there will be 105 points on offer for winning either of the first two races, with a higher tally of 110 points being offered for a win in the final sprint. This adopts a similar system to what was used pre-Project Blueprint in 2003, when double points would be offered for subsequent races over some weekends. Whilst that system hasn't been adopted for the remainder of 2006, there is still incentive for starting and finishing well in the final race of the weekend.

However it seems as though the system has been altered as to ensure the championship still goes down to the wire at the Grand Finale at Phillip Island, with the 'drop worst round' points system still taking effect until after Bathurst.

The reverse-grid format will continue for two more events - at Queensland Raceway for the Bigpond 400 and also at Oran Park Raceway near Sydney.