ALAJAJIAN STRONG ON RACEDAY AT SYMMONS PLAINS Chris Alajajian scored a pair of second place finishes to end a strong outing in Round 2 of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Tasmania's Symmons ...
ALAJAJIAN STRONG ON RACEDAY AT SYMMONS PLAINS
Chris Alajajian scored a pair of second place finishes to end a strong outing in Round 2 of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Tasmania's Symmons Plains Raceway.
The Sydneysider was entrenched within the top two on the timesheets all weekend. He was second fastest unofficially in Friday's practice around the 2.4km circuit south of Launceston, and qualified in second place for each race in the Jack Hillermans Smash Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304.
In the opening 25-lap encounter, Alajajian settled into second place behind pole-sitter Ben Clucas. While the pair were running at a similar pace, the gap fluctuated as they navigated lapped traffic.
Alajajian, 19, finished second, seven-tenths of a second behind Clucas and was one of a number of drivers well under the existing Formula 3 lap record at the circuit.
"It was a good race," he said. "Our tyres actually got better towards the end, which was when we were getting quicker and closing the gap to Ben.
"We know that we've got the pace, but if you look at the times of the top three in the races, there is nothing in it.
"All the times were so consistent during the whole race, that if you lose a little bit of time like we did while going through the traffic it's very hard to recover and make up the ground that you lost."
Alajajian made a great start in Race 2, and led the opening stanza of the race. He was passed by Clucas, but regained the lead shortly after.
As the laps ticked down, Alajajian drove hard, but was eventually reeled in and passed for the race lead by Michael Trimble with six laps remaining. Despite Alajajian's best efforts, he couldn't reclaim the lead, but recorded another podium finish.
"Our cars were faster in different areas," explained Alajajian of the battle between himself and Trimble. "Down the straight he was pretty fast, that was where he had the legs on us.
"After Michael passed me, I was trying to get a slipstream down the back straight to get the place back, but he was quick and I couldn't even get a slipstream because we were that far behind him.
"Our advantage was in the corners, and the hairpin in particular, so that's where we would catch him by about half a second before he would pull away back down the straight, so I had to push pretty hard to try and catch him.
"The insight F3 guys have done exceptionally well this weekend, as they always do. They stayed calm and co ol, made sure we had a strong car and in the end it has been a good weekend for us.
"Like Wakefield, we didn't test before the weekend, so to come out down here and again be quick was promising.
"We had strong pace in both of the races and if not for traffic in the races and in qualifying which put a couple of flatspots on the tyres, it might have been even stronger."
Chris Alajajian thanks the ongoing support of Jack Hillermans Smash, Subaru Australia, Elf Oil, insight F3, Scuderia Veloce Motors, Nudie, Workflow Systems, Bilstein, Moody Kiddell & Partners, Travel Cafe, Heasman Steering and Disc Brakes Australia.