MORE PROGRESS MADE BY ALAJAJIAN IN SUPERCAR DEBUT It was another positive day for Protecnica Racing and Chris Alajajian in their Fujistu V8 Supercar Series debut at Queensland Raceway, despite a late race off which saw Alajajian finish down the...
MORE PROGRESS MADE BY ALAJAJIAN IN SUPERCAR DEBUT
It was another positive day for Protecnica Racing and Chris Alajajian in their Fujistu V8 Supercar Series debut at Queensland Raceway, despite a late race off which saw Alajajian finish down the order.
Coming off a promising, albeit shortened, pair of practice sessions on Friday at the Ipswich circuit, the Sydney team continuing to make ground as they come to grips with the Jack Hillermans / Elf Lubricants Commodore and V8 Supercar competition.
In Qualifying, Alajajian improved his times throughout the session to eventually record a fastest lap of 1:13.0545. The time, seven tenths of a second faster than his Friday best, secured a respectable 23rd place on the grid for his first start in the series.
"We're getting quicker each time we go out onto the track, which is what this weekend is all about," said the 19 year-old. "Yesterdays incident put us behind and bit and cost us some track time, but the Protecnica guys and the TAFE crew did a great job fixing the car.
"I know there's still a lot of time in the car which is positive. We're getting there, it's just a matter of getting the laps under our belt."
In his first V8 Supercar race, The Chris made an impressive start, picking his way through to 16th place by Lap 5. Alajajian was on-course for a Top 15 finish, until he was caught out on the penultimate lap by a trail of oil on the circuit, dropping to finish in 30th position.
"I saw the smoke and assumed it was tyre smoke," he said. "I slowed down and braked really early into the corner [Turn 4], but the oil started some way out from the corner. When I hit the brakes, I was pretty much sliding the whole way into the corner and went off."
While the end result didn't reflect the strong showing, the team remain upbeat. Alajajian's fastest lap - 1:13.4433, recorded on Lap 4 of 16 - was nine-tenths of a second behind the fastest lap of the race, closing the gap from previous sessions.
"We were gaining throughout the race," Alajajian enthused. "Passing the cars in the early laps helped me gain confidence and it was going well.
"I flat-spotted a tyre on Lap 5 which cost us a bit of time and slowed us a little bit in the remaining laps, but once I got back into a rhythm I was able to put in some consistent times, close the gap to the cars infront of me and open the margin behind me.
"We've got two more races tomorrow and two more opportunities to learn. It's been good so far, so hopefully we can stay out of trouble and continue to improve."
Protecnica Racing team owner Scott Anderson was also pleased with the progress the team and Alajajian have made throughout the weekend.
"I'm pretty happy with how it went," he said of the team's first race in the series. "Chris drove well. Unfortunately I told him it was tyre smoke and not oil smoke when he went off, but he's learning all the time and bringing his times down. We didn't have any problems with the car, and the guys have done really well."
Round 3 of the Fujistu V8 Supercar Series concludes tomorrow, with the 16-lap reverse grid Race 2 at 10am and Race 3, 28 laps, at 1:20pm.