Mostert endorses safer Tassie qualifying format
Chaz Mostert believes the new qualifying format set to be introduced for this weekend’s Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint will make qualifying less dangerous for drivers.
A revised format has been introduced in an effort to ease congestion on the 2.4-kilometre circuit with three 10-minute, knock-out style sessions to determine the grid for both races.
On Saturday, the fastest ten runners across Friday’s two practice sessions will advance immediately to Qualifying 2, with the slowest 16 to contest a 10-minute Qualifying 1 shootout.
The fastest six runners from Qualifying 1 also progress into Qualifying 2.
A final Qualifying 3 hit-out then follows for the fastest 10 drivers from Qualifying 2.
The process will be repeated on Sunday, with the initial order taken from Sunday morning’s sole practice session.
It’s a similar format to that employed both in MotoGP and Formula 1, and will be used again by Supercars when it reaches Barbagallo in May.
The system has met with the approval of Tickford Racing’s Mostert, who believes qualifying on the shorter circuits was becoming too dangerous.
“For the really short tracks we have to do something different,” Mostert told Speedcafe.com.
“There’s 26 cars on the grid and for some reason every driver wants 200 metres to themselves to do their lap.
“The danger level’s just gone up, we saw at Perth last year people nearly spearing into the back, we just can’t have that.
“The category had to do something for those events for sure.”
Those who make it through to the final phase of qualifying will not receive any additional tyres relative to the rest of the field, meaning they’ll be taking life out of their rubber before they reach the race.
“It’s got pros and cons and I think that’s what will make it really exciting,” Todd Hazelwood told Speedcafe.com.
Hazelwood’s best qualifying result in his short Supercars main game career is 21st but, like Mostert, he is in favour of the revised system.
“It does make it hard when obviously you’ve got other guys out there circulating, getting a couple of extra laps on a good tyre, to work out what they need from the car, but at the same time we need to do a better job to make sure we’re in the pack,” Hazelwood said.
“Formula 1 does it and it works really well, they’ve got the split qualifying between three groups.
“At the end of the day we’re all going to be using those tyres at some point.
“We’ve got to look at the positives if you’re not in the top, but if we are then we’ve done well and we’ll take that onboard.”
For Mostert, a strong showing in qualifying is more important than any life the additional laps might take out of the tyres.
“Once you take a bit of a run in quali the tyre obviously loses a bit but it’s not dead so it’s still pretty good,” he reasoned.
“But the thing with qualifying at all the rounds of the year, it’s crucial.
“That’s where a lot of the guys who did really well in the championship last year qualified really well,” he added.
“It’s not quite a Bathurst 1000 race, they are a lot shorter, and qualifying does have a big influence on it.”
The Tasmania SuperSprint begins on Friday with two 45-minute practice sessions which will determine where each car slots into qualifying come lunch time on Saturday.