ALAJAJIAN SEEKING STRONG RESULT FROM AGP F3 SHOOTOUT If you were to ask Sydney-resident Chris Alajajian what he would consider some of the highlights from his motorsport career to date, the 2005 Australian Formula 3 support races at the Fosters...
ALAJAJIAN SEEKING STRONG RESULT FROM AGP F3 SHOOTOUT
If you were to ask Sydney-resident Chris Alajajian what he would consider some of the highlights from his motorsport career to date, the 2005 Australian Formula 3 support races at the Fosters Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix would come into the conversation pretty quickly.
This weekend, Alajajian returns to Albert Park for the Dodo Formula 3 non-championship races. He does so not just looking to re-create his 2005 form, but better it as well.
Last year, Alajajian was one of the stars of the Formula 3 races. He qualified and finished the opening race in third place, having missed most of the sole practice session.
Post race in parc ferme, the rear wing of the Jack Hillermans Smash Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304 was accidentally pushed in the wrong place, moving it outside of the allowed dimensions, and the car was penalised when it reached scrutineering.
The penalty sent Alajajian back to 19th position on the grid for race two, and set the stage for a storming drive back up to third place.
"I had a good start,” the 19 year-old recalls, "I think I made up about five positions just on the start.
"After the first couple of laps I think I'd made my way up to fifth. I then fought with Michael Caruso and Tim Slade to get to third, and was catching the front runners but there wasn't enough laps to catch them, so that was that.
"Then in the third race, I was leading the race in the rain before it was red-fla gged after a couple of crashes.”
Understandably, with a weekend like that, Alajajian is keen to return to the 5.3km circuit.
"It's really, really, exciting,” he enthuses. "This is an event I've been looking forward to for a long time.
"Ever since I raced there last year, I've been wanting to race at the track again, so I'm very excited to be heading back there this weekend.
"You get the best racing from these international events, it's always very interesting and driving around there is great.
"It's probably one of the most enjoyable circuits that I've driven on. Each category has its own enjoyable circuits to race on which suit their cars, but this venue and the Formula 3 cars, it's perfect because we are the next best thing to driving a Formula 1 car around there.”
The Sydney resident enters the weekend with some strong form behind him. Having not driven a race car since December 2005, he scored a pole position and a podium finish in the opening round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Wakefield Park earlier in the month with insight F3 and currently sits equal-third in the championship.
This weekends racing won't count for points in the Gold Star race, but Alajajian is keen to score a strong result.
"A few more podium finishes this weekend would be great,” he said. "I'm very focused on not just getting onto the podium, but getting onto the top step.
"The team have been working on the car pretty hard. At Wakefield Park, they did a great job of getting it up and running considering it all came together very late in the piece [the deal was finalised on the Monday before the race meeting].
"They jumped into the garage, got the car ready, set it up for that weekend and we did pretty well, for not doing any testing at all before the weekend, so the team have done very well.
"I'm looking forward to next weekend, they've told me about a couple of changes they've made to the car and they sound confident, so that makes me feel confident.
"Hopefully it will be another good weekend."
The Grand Prix action kicks off tomorrow, Thursday. Alajajian and the other drivers in the field will take part in a practice and qualifying session, before the opening Dodo Formula 3 eight-lap race. There will also be a race on Friday and Saturday, before the final race on Sunday morning.