Qualifying ‘go point’ to remain in team hands

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 07/05/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus
Supercars officials have affirmed that the ‘go point’ to start a fast lap in qualifying will remain only a recommendation following Saturday’s incident at Barbagallo.
Simona De Silvestro was docked five grid spots for today’s race after impeding Michael Caruso and Shane van Gisbergen while preparing for her hot lap.
The extreme closing speed between the nearly stationary Harvey Norman Nissan and the Red Bull Holden saw the Kiwi elect to dive to the grass to avoid a crash.
De Silvestro had been following team-mates Rick and Todd Kelly who also slowed at the last corner to create gaps for their hot laps, while Chaz Mostert and Tim Slade were travelling slowly but off the racing line.
The messy scenario triggered discussion in the paddock as to whether the recommended acceleration or ‘go point’ at the crest of the hill on the back straight should be made mandatory.
“We have a recommended ‘go point’ for every circuit that is clearly communicated to the drivers,” Supercars COO Shane Howard told Supercars.com.
“While that is a recommendation, ultimately it’s up to the teams and drivers to manage where their cars are on the circuit and when they accelerate. That’s not our role.
“Track positioning has always been part of the challenge of qualifying and this circuit emphasises that due to being a very short lap.
“The drivers and teams know that they are not to impede other cars and if they are deemed to have done so then they’ll likely be penalised, as was the case with Simona.” 
Six-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup was among those to lament the issue of slow traffic, but doesn’t support making an acceleration point compulsory.  
“There are two sides to it… I’m not sure what’s right or wrong,” he said. 
“I’m not going to say we should have a (compulsory) go point where everyone has to go. I think minimising rules is a good thing. 
“(But) everyone was dawdling around the last corner. We have come up over the hill and everyone has stopped. There could have been a massive one (accident).”
Shell V-Power’s Scott McLaughlin emphasised that the Red Bull Holdens are often the worst affected by slow traffic due to being the first out of the pits.
“Honestly it’s scary waiting for these blokes (the Red Bull Holdens),” he said. 
“I am constantly asking where they are. Sometimes you get pushed out for your qualifying lap and you are at the back (of the train), especially in your second run. 
“There were plenty of dawdlers out there today. It affects Jamie and Shane more than us. It’s more towards the end of qualy that it gets a bit ridiculous.”
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