DISSAPOINTING END AS WHEELS TURN AGAINST PROTECNICA RACING Wheels; they are an essential part of motorsport, yet so often taken for granted. Today they were the Achilles Heel of Protecnica Racing's Chris Alajajian in the Donut King Australian ...
DISSAPOINTING END AS WHEELS TURN AGAINST PROTECNICA RACING
Wheels; they are an essential part of motorsport, yet so often taken for granted. Today they were the Achilles Heel of Protecnica Racing's Chris Alajajian in the Donut King Australian Performance Car Championship at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway.
Alajajian entered the day fresh from a win in Saturday's race, which took his season tally to five wins (from seven races which he has been classified in) to date in 2005 - a number he and the Protecnica Racing outfit was hopeful of adding to on home turf.
From pole position, Alajajian got a good start and took the lead. Unfortunately, with another strong result on the cards, a brush with a kerb a short time later would effectively spell the end of his race.
"I was going into turn 2 trying to hold out Peter Floyd," Alajajian explained. "I got a little bit too far over and the front left wheel hit the kerbing which buckled the rim.
"We had to pit in to fix it, and our race was really over from there."
With the wheel changed, Alajajian returned to the track a lap down. The issues weren't over as slight opening lap contact with another car had dislodged the rear bumper. It started flapping and stewards called the car into the pits to have it secured. He returned to the track once again and was eventually classified 21st, two laps down.
Eager to put the race two disappointment behind them, the Protecnica team looked to the third and final race of the weekend as a good chance to put the car and Chris' pace to the test from the second last row of the grid.
In the opening four laps of the race, Alajajian carved his way through the field, and was running in eleventh place before a wheel bearing failure sent him into turn three as a passenger.
"I got to the corner and couldn't slow the car down," Alajajian said. "I used the handbrake to send the car sideways and try to save the car from making heavy contact with the tyre wall. The gravel trap did its job and we only touched the wall lightly."
It was a disappointing end to a race that held such promise. Despite navigating his way through traffic on each of the four laps he completed, Alajajian set the third fastest lap of the race.
"Those first few laps were fun. We had a very fast car and I think we could have finished in the top five, maybe even on the podium, which would have been a great result.
"It is always disappointing not to finish a race, but when you lose two possible good results in one day it is tough. We will just have to make up for it another time."
With the weekend over, the work for Protecnica Racing and Chris Alajajian doesn't end. Next weekend, August 19-21, the team will be racing in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Phillip Island Raceway in Victoria.
The next round of the 2005 Donut King Australian Performance Car Championship is at Symmons Plains Raceway, Tasmania, on November 11-13.