TOP FOUR RESULTS FOR ALAJAJIAN IN F3 RETURN Despite setup issues hampering Chris Alajajian's return to the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway, the 19 year-old was able to leave...
TOP FOUR RESULTS FOR ALAJAJIAN IN F3 RETURN
Despite setup issues hampering Chris Alajajian's return to the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway, the 19 year-old was able to leave the weekend with a pair of fourth place finishes.
Alajajian's appearance in the open-wheel class for the weekend was a late decision. Having sat out the two most recent rounds, the decision to run at Eastern Creek - The Chris' home round - was made in the week prior to the round.
"We had the car sitting there in the workshop, so we thought we may as well come out here and race at Eastern Creek," said Alajajian. "Formula 3 is a good class, so we're happy to put another car on the grid, and driving these cars is always great fun."
Prior to Friday's opening practice session, the Jack Hillermans Smash Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304 hadn't turned a wheel since early-April. The car was quickly rebuilt in the week before the round, and the early stages of the weekend were dedicated to finding a suitable setup for the car.
Gains were made in each session, culminating with Alajajian securing starting positions of sixth for Race 1 and fifth for Race 2.
"The setup isn't really where we want it at the moment, we've got a lot of understeer which is hurting us," the Sydneysider surmised after qualifying. "We're working hard to try and get it all together, but it takes a little bit of time."
Further setup work was carried out on Saturday night, work which proved fruitful in the races. The setup still wasn't 100%, however the car picked up pace throughout the two 14-lap races.
Improving on his starting position each time, Alajajian recorded a pair of fourth place finishes. He also set the second fastest race lap in Race 1, as part of a late race charge to close in on the battle for second place.
"Race 1 we did quite well, better than we expected after qualifying," he said. "The setup wasn't good at the start, but the car got better in the race and was good at the end. Unfortunately it just took a little too long to get there.
"I was closing on [Michael] Trimble and [Tim] Macrow at the end, but just ran out of time. If I had another lap I would've been right on their tail and able to make a challenge.
"We made some more changes to the setup between Race 1 and Race 2, but I think we went backwards. The car didn't have quite that bite through the corners, and the engine was down on power all weekend which didn't help.
"It isn't a result I'm generally happy with, but we came here this weekend at short notice as a small team that doesn't have as much experience as the other competitors out there and gave it our best shot.
"Matt, Stuart and Simon did a great job working on the car. We were competitive, but just not quite as competitive as we have been before in Formula 3."
Chris Alajajian's next race meeti ng will be his debut in the Fujistu V8 Supercar Development Series on July 21-23 at Queensland Raceway.
The next round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star is at Phillip Island Raceway in Victoria, on August 18-20.