After the first 6 qualifying passes were made at Irwindale, it was clear that this would come down to a three-horse race to the championship. Essa outscored the other five championship contenders, guaranteeing he would extend his lead going into Saturday’s competition, but the exact amount of his points lead would depend on how other drivers would score. Vaughn Gittin Jr would finish in Q2 after the first (and only) qualifying pass, giving him the best chance to remain in contention for the championship, but unfortunately, it’s not enough.
With all drivers earning at least 24 points in tandem for a top 32 finish, only 76 points remain in play. Adding in the points from qualifying, here is how the standings add up:
|1. Mike Essa||501.5 Points|
|2. Chris Forsberg||477 Points||– 24.5|
|3. Fredric Aasbo||426.5 Points||– 75|
|4. Vaughn Gittin Jr||420 Points||– 81.5|
|5. Daigo Saito||410.5 Points||– 91|
|6. Justin Pawlak||401 Points||– 100.5|
With only 76 points possible, Gittin Jr, Saito, and Pawlak are now eliminated from championship contention. Should Essa win his tandem battle (the first one of the top-32 tandems which start at 4:30pm PST tomorrow), Aasbo will be statistically eliminated before he even gets a chance to drive in his tandem competition. If Essa does lose that tandem battle, Aasbo will need Forsberg to lose his Top 32 matchup and go on to win the event. A second place finish from Aasbo or a top-16 appearance from Forsberg will statistically eliminate Aasbo.
From there, the 24.5 point difference between Forsberg and Essa is fairly substantial. Should Essa lose in top 32, Forsberg will take the championship with a top-32 round win, regardless of how Aasbo finishes. If Essa finishes in the top-16, Forsberg needs to finish on the podium to take the title. With the brackets setup as they are, Essa and Forsberg could potentially meet in the top 8 to setup an amazing battle for the championship. Should Essa win that battle, he will guarantee himself the 2013 Formula D Championship. However, if he were to lose, he would still have a shot at the championship if Forsberg does NOT finish in first or second. A third place finish from Forsberg would net him 78 points, while a top-8 loss from Essa would net him 61 points, a difference of 17 points which is not enough to overcome the current gap.
SUMMARY: Essa loses in Top 32 and Forsberg wins in top 32, Forsberg wins championship.
Essa loses in Top 16 and Forsberg finishes on the podium, Forsberg wins championship.
Essa loses to Forsberg in Top 8 and Forsberg finishes in 1st or 2nd, Forsberg wins championship.
Essa loses in top 32, Forsberg loses in top 32, Aasbo wins the event, Aasbo wins championship.
In all other scenarios, Essa wins championship.