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GP Week : Issue 26
> INSIGHT> 15 minutes to qualify. At the end of those 15 minutes the top four drivers from each session are pitted against each other, one on one, in the quarter finals. Fastest from Group A plays slowest from Group B and so on, in a one lap shootout. Whichever car is fastest progresses to the next round, until just two are left in the pole position final. Confusing? Yes. We laughed. Oh how we laughed. But you know what? It worked. And it was exciting! The complete reverse grid for Sunday’s second race may have sounded like a barking mad idea… but that too worked! Perhaps the greatest issue, then , was on the technical side. One driver, who didn’t want to be named, told me, “the scrutineering is a joke. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done to your car. I don’t think Beijing is legal and I don’t think anyone else thinks it is either. But the stewards don’t care. Right now, so long as the car is running, that’s all they’re interested in.” Take poor old Adrian Valles. His car turned two laps on Saturday, and failed to qualify. He allowed himself a chuckle when the grid print-out came out upside down, and it looked as though he’d somehow fluked pole. There were big technical issues, but Webb and Andreu told the media not to expect anything less given that it had been a rush and slight hatchet job getting everything ready on time. Such honesty was actually refreshing. And what of putting on the colours of a football team? “Now, in this race, with Corinthians, I have 24 million fans!” beamed Andy Soucek. “I’ve got a lot of pressure, but as with a new player at a football team you have to get used to it, and I hope the fans will be patient because with our technical difficulties this weekend I don’t think our races will be good” Valles agreed with his compatriot. “It’s quite exciting and it’s good for the fans,” he said, donning his Liverpool FC football shirt. “I think for me it is fantastic to drive the Liverpool car, because for me it’s the best club in the league and the one with the most history. Also, they have many Spanish players like Torres, Alonso, Reina… so I’m really proud to be here.” There remained one small doubt, and that lay with the fans. The grandstands were hardly packed, as despite the organisers claiming that Sunday was the best day for the race as it would avoid any “big matches,” both English clubs in SuperLeague, Spurs and Liverpool, had matches on race day. That said of those fans who did turn up, almost all wore their team’s colours. Liverpool flags and shirts swamped the paddock, as kids ran around playing football behind the garages. In terms of atmosphere, it was great. Motorsport is often accused of taking itself a little bit too seriously. SuperLeague, be it through a touch of naivety or perhaps by attempting to really mark itself out as being something different, has come up with a few ideas at which the larger, more established motorsport community will no doubt scoff. But when all is said and done, and despite or maybe even because of its occasional lapses into silliness, it’s actually rather enjoyable. While the championship has a long, long way to go until it proves itself to be workable and, ultimately, sustainable, it might just have found itself the smallest of niches. And good luck to it. A bit of fun is always a good idea. 27