The final round of the 2005 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star kicked off on a strong note for Protecnica Racing's Chris Alajajian at Eastern Creek Raceway today.

Alajajian, 19, enters the weekend looking to overcome a 17 point deficit to Michael Trimble and claim second place in the championship.

In warm conditions at the Western Sydney circuit, he started his quest by recording a time of 1:27.3287, the third fastest of today's practice sessions.

Coming off a win in the most recent round of the championship in November's A1 Grand Prix of Nations support races at Eastern Creek, Alajajian today opted for a steady start to the weekend.

"Today we were just testing the limits of the car," he said, "finding the boundaries, having a feel of the track and seeing what it is like this weekend.

"In the second session, we were pushing a little harder and found out limits when I pushed a little bit too hard on pretty worn tyres."

The times were tight in practice, with a little over half a second covering the top five drivers.

"It will be an interesting weekend," Alajajian observed.

"I think we will have much the same package as we had at A1, and I know that we will be just as competitive, if not more competitive as we were there.

"Our goal is to get some good results and points so we can catch up to and move past Michael Trimble, and see what happens in the rest of the weekend.

"Today was a good start but there is obviously still a long way to go, so we'll keep our heads down and see what happens."

Tomorrow, Formula 3 returns to the track for a pair of qualifying sessions, at 12:45pm and 2:50pm in preparation for Sunday's two final races of the year, both to be run across 13 laps.

Protecnica Racing thanks the ongoing support of Jack Hillermans Smash, Elf Oil, Scuderia Veloce Motors, Nudie, Workflow Systems, Bilstein, Moody Kiddell & Partners, Heasman Steering, Travel Cafe, Disc Brakes Australia, Hawk Performance, Monza Mens Boutique and H & R Springs.

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