SOLID START FOR ALAJAJIAN AT 'THE MOUNTAIN' Providing a good base to build on in the remainder of the weekend, Protecnica Racing and Chris Alajajian got off to a solid start in Round 6 of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Mount Panorama,...
SOLID START FOR ALAJAJIAN AT 'THE MOUNTAIN'
Providing a good base to build on in the remainder of the weekend, Protecnica Racing and Chris Alajajian got off to a solid start in Round 6 of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, today.
Newcomers to the series, both the Sydney-based team and driver had their first taste of a V8 Supercar at the famed 6.213km circuit today, with Alajajian setting his fastest time late in the second of two practice sessions.
The time, 2:15.1905, put the Jack Hillermans Smash / Elf Lubricants Commodore in 24th place for the day, amongst the bumper 42-car field.
"I've been looking forward to this race meeting for a long time," enthused Alajajian, 19. "The track is unbelievable in one of these cars.
"Having not raced here for a couple of years, you forget how close the walls are, and the speed of these cars amplifies that. Across the top of the mountain, over all the crests, it's the best feeling.
"We're back a little bit in the order to where we want to be, but now we've got about 25 laps of V8 Supercar experience around here to build on tomorrow, compared to this morning when we had none."
Since the most recent round of the series at Mallala Motorsport Park in September, where Alajajian finished sixth, the team have taken the plunge and installed a new, latest-spec, engine built by renowned Supercar engine builder Peter Wallis.
A spin by Alajajian in the opening practice session at Griffins Bend, which resulted in light contact with the wall, is currently thought to have induced a fuel-related issue which hampered Alajajian's progress thereafter.
"I went into Griffins Bend, and the car snapped around on me," said Alajajian. "I tried to catch it, but wasn't quite able to. The main goal after that was keeping the front of the car off the wall, which I was able to do, so fortunately the damage was minor.
"A lot of fuel must have been dumped into the engine in the spin, it wasn't quite the same afterwards and we had a bit of a fuel surge. It was better in the second session, but I was losing a lot of ground to the other cars coming out of each corner."
Alajajian will return to the track tomorrow morning at 8:00am for qualifying, ahead of the 14-lap Race 1 at 12:40pm, which will be shown as part of Network 10's telecast.
"We knew we would struggle a little bit compared to the guys at the front of the field who have raced here before in a V8 Supercar, and those who are doing the 1000 as well," said Protecnica Racing team owner Scott Anderson.
"At the moment, we're a little bit further back than we would've liked, but we just need more track time. The spin Chris had in Practice 1 didn't set us back too much, and the boys did an excellent job to fit a new rear-quarter between sessions.
"With some more track time and as we get to grips with it, we'll be looking to move up the order a bit."