Danish newcomer FC Midtjylland will start its first-ever Superleague Formula race from the back of the grid after a blistered tyre prevented Kasper Anderson from taking part in the quarter-final shoot-out.
Anderson's team, Hitech Junior, wanted to send him out for a very slow lap on the damaged tire, but rubber supplier Michelin and race organizers refused. Anderson had only made the top eight by 0.033sec, and if he hadn't would have started ninth.
As per the rules, which are designed to stop teams from running cars with not enough fuel to complete the shoot-out qualifying phase, Anderson's non-appearance carried the penalty of a back-of-grid start. He would otherwise have been classified in the top eight, but will start 18th and last.
"They, Michelin and Superleague, said we just couldn't go," said team principal David Hayle. "We wanted to send him out for a lap at 30mph, but they said the tire was too dangerous. There was nothing we could do."
Hayle then had the stress of a further stewards situation, when another of his drivers, Porto's Tristan Gommendy, erroneously headed for the pits when he'd seen his quarter-final rival Yelmer Buurman of Anderlecht spin in front of him. As Buurman extricated himself and could have beaten him, Gommendy realized his error and swerved back onto the track via cutting the final chicane, but was excluded for missing out part of the racetrack.
"His engineer, quite rightly, told him to back off and save the tires," said Hayle. "But when I saw him coming into the pits I screamed, 'what the f*** are you doing?' over the radio. He tried to complete the lap, but missing out the chicane got him excluded."
Despite his error, Gommendy will start sixth.