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PRE-QUALIFYING SCRAPPED, SAVING TEGA BOARD

Sweeping changes to be implemented to the V8 Supercar series - including the scrapping of pre-qualifying - have saved the Touring Car Entrants Group (TEGA) board from certain expulsion after an extraordinary general meeting of the group on Friday.

A motion to unseat incumbent board members Jeff Grech, Garry Rogers, Dick Johnson and Kim Jones was overwhelmingly defeated according to media reports today, after they agreed to revise the sport's entry criteria and abandon the current system of pre-qualifying.

Beginning next weekend at Hidden Valley, the grid will be extended to incorporate 36 entries (up from 32), with teams committed to the entire 13-round series guaranteed entry.

(Some events, like the upcoming Canberra 400, must retain a 32-car capacity due to pitlane constraints.)

The pit stop crush will be eased by a reorganisation of pitlane, with three-car teams to share one pit boom and single-car outfits to 'buddy up' and share one boom between two.

And after Saturday practice time was unfavourably reduced for the last round at Eastern Creek, another one hour of free practice has been added to the program. Drivers will have two 30-minute sessions on Friday, replacing pre-qualifying, and will be restricted to 10 laps each session.

The biggest change could come later in the season, with a committee established to look at restructuring the TEGA organisation.

Some have called for the three-tier V8 Supercar franchise structure to be scrapped in favour of a Formula One-style system.

At the very least, TEGA members will be looking for a board that is more responsive, after a bitter period of in-fighting that threatened to tear the sport in half.

Order, for now, has been restored.

--V8 WIRE (Jason Whittaker)

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