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ENTRY SYSTEM FLAWED, SAYS UNMOVED CEO
V8 Wire (Jason Whittaker)

A crisis meeting of the AVESCO board has failed to calm tensions between the V8 governing body and race teams, with the board refusing to back down on their controversial pre-qualifying system for March's season-opening Clipsal 500.

V8 Supercar powerbrokers met with team representatives at AVESCO's Gold Coast headquarters on Tuesday, to debate the merits of a system that will see up to 18 drivers - including Russell Ingall, Craig Lowndes, Greg Murphy, Todd Kelly and John Bowe - battle for as few as eleven remaining grid positions in Adelaide.

Admitting AVESCO had "some disgruntled members" over a system with "uncomfortable inconsistencies", AVESCO CEO Wayne Cattach told Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper that a number of alternative options were considered, including seeding the sport's elite drivers, but that the entry requirements will remain unchanged.

"We reviewed the entry policy for Adelaide and we think it's the only option available to us, given the very strong demand from our members. We've basically changed nothing," Cattach said.

Cattach dismissed talk of a pre-qualifying spat between the board and teams. "I don't think we've got a crisis, but we've got some disgruntled members," he said.

"We have got uncomfortable inconsistencies in terms of some of the stars who have to subject themselves to pre-qualifying, but it was felt it would be wrong to change."

Pre-qualifying will be held at Mallala Raceway on the Wednesday prior to the Clipsal 500. The circuit will be open to the public on the day.

Cattach said pre-qualifying would be a once-only problem for many stars, with event entry to be determined by current championship position after Adelaide.

But Russell Ingall, among others, may find himself in a year-long battle to qualify, with AVESCO forcing three-car teams, like Perkins Motorsport, to risk one of their drivers in pre-qualifying at every over-subscribed round of the championship. AVESCO are yet to determine whether the same driver will have the pre-qualifying assignment at each round, or if a rotation system within teams will be allowed.

Cattach told the paper that he was confident all of the sport's leading lights will survive the do-or-die Mallala session and line up for the first race of the season in Adelaide.

--V8 WIRE (Jason Whittaker)

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