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S5000 unveils radical qualifying format

Motor Sport 2019-09-09 10:30:00

The V8-powered series will use a system inspired by the Speedway Word Championship at Sandown and The Bend, with a qualifying session and two qualifying heats determining the grid for a main race.

The fastest driver in the original qualifying session will get to choose where they want to start the first heat race from. Second fastest will choose next, and so on until the top 75 per cent of the grid has been set.

Those starting positions will then be reversed for the second heat race, with the grid for the feature race determined by points amassed across the two races.

Drivers outside the top 75 per cent in qualifying will simply start Heat 1 from the position they qualified, and Heat 2 from the positions they finished Heat 1.

The heats will be 20-minute races, followed by a 30-minute final.

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“We want entertaining racing all weekend, so the idea is that for the main race, the person on pole has to earn it – by racing and passing other cars,” said category manager Chris Lambden.

“This will certainly mix things up during the two qualifying heats – much like the Top 8 reversals in international F2 and F3 do – and the reward for qualifying fastest is the right to pick first.

“I’m a fan of World Speedway, where the riders get to select their starting gates for the finals based on their performance in the heats. It adds a bit of theatre to it all and is a reward for performance.

"And in our case, whoever gets pole for the main race will certainly have earned it, by needing to pass a few cars along the way.

“It should provide some action and excitement on the way to Sunday's main race. It’s what we’re planning to do for next year’s championship series, and it’s a great opportunity to try it out.”

Sandown schedule

Friday September 20
Practice 1 – 12:20
Practice 2 – 15:25

Saturday September 21
Qualifying – 11:15
Qualifying Heat 1 – 14:20

Sunday September 22
Qualifying Heat 2 – 10:05
Main Race – 14:15

All races will be streamed live and free around the world by Motorsport.TV.