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Supercars increases knockout qualifying for 2019

Tom Howard

Wednesday 12th December, 2018 - 1:37pm

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Symmons Plains saw the introduction of the knockout qualifying system this year

Supercars has confirmed a number of changes to race formats for next year including an expanded use of knockout qualifying and championship points for Sandown 500 qualifying races.

The championship will now use the three part knockout for 13 races during the season after its successful introduction at Symmons Plains, Barbagallo Raceway and Sydney Motorsport Park this season.

It was initially introduced to reduce traffic on the shorter circuits although the concept has since proved a hit with fans.

From next year it will feature at Symmons Plains, Phillip Island, Barbagallo Raceway, Winton, Race 1 at Hidden Valley, Queensland Raceway and The Bend Motorsport Park.

The move to incorporate the three-part qualifying system will see changes made to practice sessions with hit outs now scheduled ahead of the start of qualifying for those events using the format.

Friday sessions at most events will be reduced from 45 to 30 minutes while Winton will see Friday devoid of action with a. session held prior to qualifying on Saturday.

Last year the three-part system saw no more than 16 cars on track at one time while putting more emphasis on practice, which now effectively becomes part of qualifying.

The fastest 10 drivers from combined Friday Practice receive a bye to a 10 minute Q2 session where they are joined by the top six from Q1, also 10 minutes in length.

A top 10 is formed in Q2 before these runners battle for pole position in a final Q3 outing.

Next season will see the use of eight top 10 shootouts which is one less than last year after organisers added an extra shootout at the Gold Coast 600 following the removal of Stadium Super Trucks.

Meanwhile, championship points will be introduced to the Race to The Grid sprints at the Sandown 500, which from next year will host the final round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup.

A total of 50 points will be awarded to the driver competing in the race with 250 points on offer to the winner of the Sandown 500.

The system was proposed for the Gold Coast next year before Supercars backflipped on plans to introduce the Race to The Grid and 500km race format.

Additional driver practice sessions at Winton and Queensland Raceway have been removed from the schedule with co-drivers now able to test at several circuits under the new testing regulations.

The changes arrive off the back of changes to the Superloop Adelaide 500 and Perth SuperNight format announced this week.

CLICK HERE for changes to Super2.

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