Motorsport: Format under fire from drivers

By Dale Budge at Pukekohe Park Raceway

Scott McLaughlin during practice for the Supercars Auckland SuperSprint. Photo / Getty Images
Scott McLaughlin during practice for the Supercars Auckland SuperSprint. Photo / Getty Images

Leading drivers have questioned the format being used at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe Park Raceway this weekend.

Four 100km sprint races have been scheduled with compulsory pit stops and strategy not a factor in the racing.

As a result, after a bit of jostling off the line and for the first lap or two, races have become a bit of a precession with limited passing opportunities around the track.

That goes against what happens at every other round of the championship. In years gone by two short sprint races were used on the Saturday with a longer Sunday race, where strategy became a key component.

The series moved this year to staging a single race on both Saturday and Sunday to better improve the contest, which has been warmly received.

But the different format was set for Pukekohe to save teams money lugging the necessary refueling equipment on international flights.

Volvo driver Scott McLaughlin is one who is not in favour of the format.

"I personally don't like it," the New Zealand said. "I understand why we do it - saving costs on the fuel rigs and all that sort of stuff.

"I personally think a strategy always mixes things up.

"What we have done is help the cashflow especially these fly-by races.

"The races we have had across the year is a testament to the series. When you come out here and go back to the old way - the way we used to do it - and we see the problems it is obvious why we changed.

Chaz Mostert, who finished on the podium in yesterday's second race, agrees that going away from what has worked at other venues all season has led to dull races.

"We have been used to our format all year where you wait for pit stops or new tyres to make a move on someone but here, if you want to move forward, you really need to have a crack."

Six-time series champion Jamie Whincup was another driver to call for a change.

"Pit stops are good," he said. "I think we should do that over here."

"I think we should come over here a couple of times too."

- NZ Herald

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