The knockout qualifying rules put quite a spin on the 2013 season of Formula Drift. The new rulebook on page 18 highlights all the changes to the KO style qualifying round. A quick summary is the top 16 drivers will be locked in on the first qualifying run and parking them for the rest of qualifying. The second run of qualifying will be left for the rest of the drivers who will fight for position 17-32 completing the ladder. Below is the rulebook note on the new change. I like this style as it eliminates cupcaking in the first qualifying run and also really puts more pressure on the first pass overall.
Many drivers shoot for a conservative first run right now and guarantee a placement in the Top 32. Then put down a huge big run for the second and either spin or place first. This strategy will have to be greatly adjusted now with the first run being much more important. It also punishes quality drivers who mess up the first run forcing them into the top ladder bracket which is great for Fantasy Drift’s Underdog points category as well.
This also eliminates 16 runs from the snooze fest qualifying can become at some rounds. It increases drama, puts more pressure on the drivers, and limits the number of solo track runs the fans have to watch in a race weekend. I call it a win / win for everyone. What do the drivers and other fans think of the rule change which you can read in full below.
The format of Qualifying is a “knockout” format. Drivers will complete one (1) run on the track in order of current rank in the Championship. After each competitor has completed (1) run, the Top 16 drivers will be placed in the tandem bracket by qualifying rank. The final 16 spots allotted for tandem will be filled by the rest of the field by completing one more run. Drivers ranked form 17- lowest positioned driver after the first run will keep their first run score and then run the second run of qualifying. The higher of the two scores will be the score that each driver keeps. From there, positions 17-32 will be filled. Running order on the second run will be dictated on rank of the remaining drivers.