Eastern Creek: Paul Morris preview

Morris says he's disadvantaged by revised V8 Supercar tyre rule THURSDAY, APRIL 25: Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore driver Paul Morris today claimed he had been disadvantaged by the timing of the revised tyre rule announced this week that allows...

Morris says he's disadvantaged by revised V8 Supercar tyre rule

THURSDAY, APRIL 25: Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore driver Paul Morris today claimed he had been disadvantaged by the timing of the revised tyre rule announced this week that allows all competitors to use new tyres in tomorrow's pre-qualifying session for round three of the V8 Supercar Championship at Eastern Creek in Sydney on Saturday and Sunday.

"I deliberately didn't do any testing in the last couple of weeks so I'd have new tyres for pre-qualifying, but now they've changed the rules and everyone can run on fresh rubber," he said.

"If I'd known the rules were going to be altered then I would have gone testing, as many others probably have, to work on improving the set-up of my car for this weekend. I'm happy to play by the rules, but it helps if you know what the rules are!"

The 34-year-old from the Gold Coast, who won the Calder Park round of the 2001 championship, will contest pre-qualifying at Eastern Creek as part of an expected group of about 15 drivers vying for seven starting positions alongside 25 others in a grid of 32 cars for the three-race Eastern Creek round.

Morris said the revised tyre regulations had created an inconsistent situation for him, compared to some other drivers, because he had been forced to contest pre-qualifying in the previous round at Phillip Island in Victoria two weeks ago on the same Dunlop control rubber he had used in races in the championship opener in Adelaide during March.

"I had to use old tyres in pre-qualifying at Phillip Island and some of the others who hadn't raced in Adelaide had fresh rubber," said Morris.

"I accepted the situation because those were the regulations, and I thought the same rule would work in my favour at Eastern Creek because I'd have the advantage of four new tyres."

Morris said that under the previous regulations he had expected those in pre-qualifying at Eastern Creek who raced at Phillip Island, such as Ford Falcon trio Glenn Seton, Neil Crompton, and Brad Jones, would compete in the session on used tyres, as he had done before round two of the championship.

"I've heard there has been some lobbying behind-the-scenes to change the rules, and some people are reportedly saying we needed to create 'a level playing field' in pre-qualifying," said Morris.

"I'd like to know why these same people weren't concerned about 'level playing fields' for Cameron McLean or I before pre-qualifying at Phillip Island when we had to run old tyres. On that occasion the silence was deafening!"

"We are involved in a multi-million dollar professional sport, and I hope that self-interests never affect any decisions being made."

Morris said that he had paid heavily for missing the pre-qualifying cut at Phillip Island, and being relegated to the same session at Eastern Creek, especially with another new rule announced by AVESCO this week about future championship grids.

Under previous rules, the top 25 from qualifying at championship rounds were automatically granted starting positions in the next round. However, from round four at Hidden Valley in Darwin in May the automatic grid positions will be allocated to the top 25 points-scorers in the championship.

"It's a 'double whammy' for me," said Morris. "First I had to use old tyres in pre-qualifying at Phillip Island, and when I missed the cut I had to go home early and couldn't score any points so I'm well outside the top 25 championship positions."

"Now, even if I do qualify in the top 25 at Eastern Creek there's no guarantee I'll race in Darwin unless I get up to at least 25th in the championship this weekend. If I had been able to use new tyres in pre-qualifying at Phillip Island, like everyone can this weekend, I could have been in a completely different position."

The Eastern Creek round comprises a 20-mins race on Saturday, and two 150km events on Sunday. Mark Skaife from the Holden Racing Team leads the championship with 580 points, followed by Kmart Commodore driver Greg Murphy on 304.

- www.paulmorris.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Neil Crompton , Greg Murphy , Brad Jones , Mark Skaife , Paul Morris , Glenn Seton , Cameron McLean , Phillip Island
Teams Holden Racing Team