FRUSTRATING END TO ALAJAJIAN'S CHARGE IN QUEENSLAND
Despite being eliminated from the final race by another competitor, it was a positive day for Protecnica Racing and Chris Alajajian in their Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series debut at Queensland Raceway.
As with the first two days of the race weekend, the Sydney-based team focused on continuing to learn as they build on their minimal V8 Supercar experience. However, this lack of experience didn't prevent Alajajian turning in another promising performance in the Jack Hillermans / Elf Lubricants Commodore.
Coming off a strong run in Race 1, which he ultimately finished 28th after coming unstuck on a trail of oil late in the race, Alajajian started the reverse-grid Race 2 from 10th place.
Progressing through the order and continuing to improve his times, The Chris moved quickly up inside the top five on the opening lap, and into third place on Lap 3. Setting impressive laptimes, including the third fastest lap of the race, Alajajian ended the 16 lap encounter in second place.
"It was a good race for us," the 19 year-old said. "I was blocked for a few laps early which cost us a bit of time and without it we probably could've won, but the team and I are happy with this result.
"We gained a lot more time overnight with the car, and know of some more minor changes we can make for the last one which will again make a bit of a difference."
Starting from grid position 21, Alajajian again made ground early in Race 3 until his race was cut short on Lap 10 of 28, having just passed Adam Sharpe for 17th place.
"I passed Sharpe into Turn 1, and then going into Turn 2 I was hit all of a sudden," Alajajian explained. "I didn't see him in my mirrors and had no idea he was there, but it seems his left-front made contact with my right-rear corner, which sent me into the gravel trap and out of the race."
It ended what had been another promising showing in the team's debut weekend, with Alajajian left to rue what might have been.
"It's just frustrating, I think we could've ended up inside the top 12," he said. "It was a long race, so I was playing it fairly conservatively in the early few laps; just taking our time. It was all about staying there and keeping out of trouble.
"We had picked up a couple of places already and it was looking good. I think we had good pace again, like we did this morning, and car was continuing to improve.
"We've shown that we had the pace this weekend. It didn't go our way, but what can you do."
After their promising debut, Protecnica Racing now turn their attention to Round 4 of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at their home circuit, Oran Park Raceway, on August 11-13.
"I'm pleased with how it all went this weekend," said team owner Scott Anderson. "We came here with two days of Supercar experience and I think we put in a good showing.
"It was very productive for us, we learnt a lot which was the main objective. We didn't really get the results we could've, but that's the way it is. All of our guys did an excellent job, and we're all really looking forward to Oran Park."