FROM THE NETHERLANDS TO THE MOUNTAIN - CHRIS ALAJAJIAN'S WORLD TOUR CONTINUES AT BATHURST
Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship series racer Chris Alajajian returns to Mount Panorama, Bathurst, this weekend for a short stop in what is fast becoming a month-long world tour for the 20-year-old Sydney driver.
Willoughby-based Alajajian will race in this weekend's sixth round of the Fujitsu V8 series fresh from racing in the opening round of the 2007 / 08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport series at the Zandvoort circuit in The Netherlands last weekend.
It will only be a short trip home, however, as he will jump on the plane immediately following the racing at Bathurst to head to the Czech Republic -- and the Brno Circuit -- for the second A1GP round next week.
The month of October will see Alajajian visit three different circuits in three countries and travel over 20,000km by plane and car.
Alajajian is driving for A1 Team Lebanon in the Nation-against-Nation series and made his international open wheel debut last week.
He finished 14th in the first (Sprint) race before mechanical problems unfortunately sidelined him in the longer feature event.
Still, the performance drew positive reviews from the Lebanese team management.
"Chris coped well with the pressures of the challenge that he had, not only with his A1GP debut, but also having the weather to contend with," Seat holder Tameem Auchi said.
"I think it's been a promising start for the season ahead."
Alajajian said today that the last week had been one of the most exciting in his brief career.
"I've certainly travelled internationally more in the last month than I have in my entire life," he said.
"It has been an amazing experience and there is a lot more to come. To be able to drive for A1 Team Lebanon in the World Cup of Motorsport is a great opportunity for me."
Alajajian added that his first weekend in International Open Wheel competition was a challenging yet rewarding experience.
"It was such a massive learning curve for me, and to make matters worse all of the practice and qualifying was in the wet. When I got to the first race it was the first time that I had driven the Zandvoort circuit in the dry so it was very challenging.
"A1GP is very competitive. Some of the drivers in the series have a heap of experience and have been racing in the series since it started, so the competition is very tough. The cars are all even and the racing is close so it's a tough job to be competitive as a rookie. Miles are everything.
"The cars are awesome to drive at a fast track like Zandvoort. The fans from The Netherlands are amazing -- there were so many of them filling the circuit," he enthused.
"Jumping back into a V8 Supercar this weekend has been an even bigger challenge. The cars are so completely different -- I got to the top of the mountain in the V8 this morning (in opening practice) and went 'Woah!'
"But within a few laps everything was coming back and I was back in the groove of driving a V8. Today didn't go quite to plan however - we didn't get a totally clear run. There is definitely more to come from the car tomorrow." He said.
"I'm looking forward to getting into the racing this weekend before heading to the Czech Republic to get back into the A1GP car."
Alajajian took his #43 Protecnica Racing / Jack Hillermans Smash VZ Commodore to 13th fastest time in today's combined practice session times ahead of tomorrow's qualifying and opening race.
The next round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will be held at Brno, in the Czech Republic, next weekend - Alajajian flying out from Sydney early in the week.