2006 sprint races move to Saturday

World Series by Renault will hold its sprint race on the Saturday of each event weekend next season

2006 sprint races move to Saturday

The move is one a raft of changes to be introduced to improve the 2006 Championship, with the series' controversial qualifying format also being ditched.

Presently the series holds its 30-minute sprint race on Sunday morning and its 45-minute mandatory pitstop race on Sunday afternoon, with separate qualifying session for both events on Saturday.

From next season, the sprint race will be held on Saturday afternoon, and the feature race will be held in its traditional Sunday afternoon slot. Qualifying will therefore happen on both days, to be held on the morning preceeding each race.

Renault Motor Racing director Jean Paul-Mari told Autosport-Atlas: "We give away tickets to the public as part of bringing people to the series, and many people turned up on Saturday. We had 80,000 fans on the Saturday at Le Mans this year. This means that they will also have a major race to get excited about."

The qualifying format will also change. This season, various formats have been tested, but the series eventually settled on a system that split the 30 cars into two 15-minute sessions, in an attempt to alleviate concern over traffic issues.

The grid is then determined on either the qualifying times alone, or if the average of the fastest times is outside permitted limits, the groups start parallel on the grid.

This has meant that drivers have started in unusual slots, because even though they have set faster time, due to the parallel starting line up they have started further down the grid than someone with a slower time set in the other session.

From next season, the series will just use one 30-minute qualifying session for all cars, with each driver limited to just seven laps during the session.

"The present system wasn't fair and not a good choice, but we ended up that way to help the traffic," Mari added. "This system will be much fairer. It is up to the drivers how they use their seven laps, but laps coming into the pits and leaving count."

The calendar for the series has yet to be decided, however Renault confirmed there would be races in Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom and Germany.

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