CHRIS ALAJAJIAN AND PROTECNICA RACING KEEN TO END FUJITSU V8 SUPERCAR INITIATION STRONGLY
When the chequered flag falls on the final Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series race of 2006 at Phillip Island Raceway this weekend, it will mark the end of Chris Alajajian and Protecnica Racing's V8 Supercar initiation.
The Sydneysiders made their debut in the series in Round 3 of the year held at Queensland Raceway in July, collectively bringing with them experience and success in rallying, production car racing, Formula 3 and drifting.
Naturally, V8 Supercars would be a completely different kettle of fish, providing the team with a steep learning curve. Their first foray has included plenty of positive signs, with Alajajian showing strong race pace at each event, and scoring Top 10 qualifying and round results at Oran Park Raceway and Mallala Motorsport Park.
With that form under their belt, Alajajian is eager to ensure the team's first V8 Supercar chapter ends on a positive note, when he gets behind the wheel of the Jack Hillermans Smash / Elf Lubricants Commodore this weekend at the Victorian circuit.
"It's been really pleasing to have the speed we have shown," said Alajajian, 20.
"We don't quite have the results to match how competitive we've been so far. I've made some mistakes and we have had some bad luck at some tracks; at Oran Park and Mallala we were in the Top 10 for the round, but we could have been even higher.
"So it's good to know that the potential is there, and I've really enjoyed running in the class so far. Hopefully this weekend we will be able to have a good, clean, consistent run in the races and get a solid result for the weekend to end the year."
Part of Alajajian's approach for the weekend includes a renewed commitment to his fitness, which he feels will be valuable around the high-speed 4.4km layout.
"Phillip Island is a very fast, flowing and high-momentum circuit, with a couple of big stops," he said. "I think it's similar to Bathurst in many aspects, and I really enjoy racing there; it's one of the best tracks in the country to drive on.
"It will be very physical for all the drivers and fitness will be important, especially at this time of the year with increased temperatures.
"I've started working with a trainer in the last month. We've been working pretty hard on my physical and mental fitness and I'm noticing the difference - I'm a lot fitter than I was before, and I think will help this weekend and in the future."
For Protecnica Racing team owner Scott Anderson, the weekend marks the end of an intensely busy, yet satisfying process entering and coming to grips with the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series.
"This isn't to take anything away from the other classes we have run in previously, but this category of racing is on a different level in terms of professionalism and competition to what we've done before," said Anderson.
"You can't go into it underdone, so we've really upped the ante and put in a lot of work to be as well prepared and, ultimately, competitive as possible. I'm proud of the fact that as a team we've put in a good account of ourselves in these last couple of months on the track."
After practice on Friday and qualifying on Saturday morning, the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series field will contest a pair of 30-minute races. The first will take place on Saturday afternoon, with the 2006 season concluding with Race 2 on Sunday.