ALAJAJIAN OUT EARLY AFTER BRUISING FUJITSU SERIES DAY AT BATHURST.
After flying nearly 10,000km from Europe to race this weekend, Sydneysider Chris Alajajian's sixth round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar championship has ended early following today's opening race at Mount Panorama, Bathurst.
In a devastating day for the 20-year-old and his Protecnica Racing team, Alajajian's VZ Commodore ended in the unforgiving Bathurst walls not once but twice today -- both in unlucky circumstances.
In this morning's qualifying sessions Alajajian lasted just one lap as his car picked up debris left from another vehicle coming over Skyline -- causing the rear wheels to lock and the driver loose control.
The car made heavy, head-on contact with the wall in the esses and sustained damage to the front of the car, ruling it out of the remainder of the session.
The well-known Bathurst TAFE Smash repairs team were put into action, stripping the front of the car down to the chassis and rebuilding it in time to make the start of the race just two and a half hours later.
Starting from the pit lane, Alajajian scythed his way through the field to run 16th -- just one position outside of the points -- by the 10th of 14 laps.
However on lap 11 he and another car made contact as they ran side-by-side over skyline. After rubbing wheels, Alajajian's car was spun around and once again made heavy contact with the outside wall -- just inches from where it hit in the earlier qualifying session.
With the damage again significant, the team elected to withdraw from further competition this weekend.
"This is a very, very disappointing way to end the day after the effort that went into getting the car back on track after qualifying," Alajajian said following the race.
"The Protecnica team and the Tafe crew worked miracles in a short amount of time to get the car fixed -- their efforts meant we were just able to get out in time to start the race from the pit lane.
"You hear the stories every year about how hard they work, and I've now seen it first hand." He said.
Alajajian believes he was the innocent party in the accident -- despite knowing that the top of the mountain is a not known as a place to pass.
"That part of the track isn't usually known as a passing opportunity, however I believe it (the overtaking move) was definitely on," he explained.
"The car in front made a mistake and got crossed up coming onto skyline.
"He backed out of the throttle and was going much slower than I was. I pulled alongside on the inside of the circuit and the corner and he just turned in on me. The car spun and went hard into the wall.
"It was very disappointing because we were coming through the field very well. I wasn't taking any risks and just trying to bring the car home to reward the guys for a job well done." He said.
"I have to thank my team and the Tafe team for putting in such a great effort to get us back on track."
Chris will leave Australia to return to Europe on Monday, flying directly to the Czech Republic for the second round of the 2007 / 08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season.
He will then head to London to spend further time with A1 Team Lebanon in preparation for his continuing campaign on the World Cup of Motorsport series.
The final round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship will be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, in December, as part of the Dunlop Grand Finale.