V8SDS: Protecnica Racing Phillip Island Friday notes

PROGRESS MADE BY PROTECNICA RACING AT PHILLIP ISLAND Ahead of this weekend's final round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Phillip Island Raceway in Victoria, Protecnica Racing and Chris Alajajian took to the circuit for a pair of...

PROGRESS MADE BY PROTECNICA RACING AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Ahead of this weekend's final round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Phillip Island Raceway in Victoria, Protecnica Racing and Chris Alajajian took to the circuit for a pair of productive practice sessions.

Keen to end their initial foray into V8 Supercar competition on a strong note, the team opted for a steady approach for the two 35-minute sessions. Track time in the opening session focused on familiarisation with the 4.4km circuit overlooking Bass Strait, with Alajajian recording a time of 1:37.9976 to secure 16th place aboard the Jack Hillermans Smash / Elf Lubricants Commodore.

"In Practice 1, we really just wanted to learn the track in this car," surmised Alajajian. "I've driven here a couple of times before in F3 and Production Cars, but it's very different in this car.

"The track is a lot like Bathurst and even the Surfers Paradise Indy track in some aspects. The exit you get out of each corner is very important because it determines your speed for quite a long way afterwards, instead of just a short run to the next corner. It's very flowing, and it's very important to maintain momentum across a whole lap."

Temperatures at the circuit increased between sessions, ensuring lap times in Practice 2 were well down on the earlier benchmarks. Alajajian improved to be 14th fastest in the 35-car field.

"The track was a lot slower in Practice 2 than the first session," said Alajajian, 20. "It was hotter and there was a bit of oil around so most people were about a second slower than they were in the morning.

"We were about half a second slower, but comparing the two sessions we took a second out of the margin to first place. A lot of that is down to some setup changes we made between sessions which worked well.

"We've improved today, and we know there are more improvements to be made. We're always learning, there's always something for me to learn. We'll look through our data from today, make some more changes tonight and see how we go."

Times from the day were enough to ensure Alajajian will be among the Top 50% group in qualifying tomorrow morning, ahead of Race 1 at 2:10pm. Race 2 will take place on Sunday.

"It was a good day," said Protecnica Racing team owner Scott Anderson. "The tyres we used today weren't in particularly good condition, but we managed to make a lot of progress with the car and we achieved our main target of getting into the Top 50% group for qualifying, which is important.

"We'll keep tweaking the car as the weekend continues and look to keep moving up the order."

-credit: protecnica racing

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