Changes have been made to the controversial qualifying format of the World Touring Car Championship following a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
The changes, to be implemented as of the start of the 2012 season, mean that the five fastest drivers in Q2 will receive bonus points. In addition 12 drivers will now be admitted to Q2, with the ten fastest drivers in that session being reversed to form the race two grid.
Bonus points will be awarded to the top five drivers in Q2, with 5 points going to the fastest driver, 4 to second, then 3, 2 and 1 points respectively.
The intention behind allowing 12 drivers through to Q2 but only reversing the top ten is to prevent drivers deliberately aiming for a slow time in Q2 to secure pole position or a front-row start.
It marks a change from the system used in the current season, whereby the ten fastest drivers in Q1 were reversed to form the race two grid. Those ten drivers would then go through to Q2 to compete for the fastest time to form the first race grid.
It is the second significant change to the WTCC qualifying format in as many years. Prior to the 2011 season the WTCC used to reverse the top eight drivers in the first race of the day, irrespective of qualifying times.