Last year, we had a quick series of posts which showed what each of the seven drivers who had a statistical chance to win the championship had to do in order to raise the big Formula D trophy. This year, six drivers are within striking distance.
|1. Mike Essa
|2. Chris Forsberg
|3. Fredric Aasbo
|4. Vaughn Gittin Jr
|5. Daigo Saito
|6. Justin Pawlak
First up is Justin Pawlak, a man who was also in the championship chase last season. This season, he’s a bit further out of reach of the cup, but has gotten to this point with consistent finishes and strong qualifying points. With a maximum of 112 points up for grabs and a minimum of 24.25 points available for a top-32 qualification, Pawlak can only finish with a high of 512.5 points and Essa will finish with no less than 513.25 if he qualifies for the top 32. Therefore, it’s very likely that Pawlak will be eliminated from championship contention if Essa qualifies for Saturday’s competition.
Beyond that, should Essa fail to qualify, he would need Chris Forsberg to lose in top 32 (a top 16 finish would earn Forsberg a minimum of 54.25 points and a total of 528.25 points) to still have a chance at the championship. Should Essa fail to qualify and Forsberg lose in top 32 (giving Forsberg anywhere from 498.25 to 510 points depending on qualifying), Pawlak would need no less than a second place effort and a top two qualifying effort, or a win to have a shot. Pawlak has twice been on the podium before at Irwindale (in 2008 as a rookie finishing third, and last season finishing second), so this isn’t completely out of the picture.
If Pawlak were to finish ahead of Saito in the event, it’s very likely he will finish in the top 5 for the third consecutive season, a feat that has only been done previously by Sam Hubinette, Rhys Millen, Dai Yoshihara, and Chris Forsberg. With company like that, it’s clear that Justin Pawlak’s success isn’t just a fluke and should be considered a threat in seasons to come.