NOT TO BE FOR ALAJAJIAN IN F3 FINALE The 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star finished on a somewhat frustrating note at Oran Park for Chris Alajajian, with promising pace going unrewarded. As part of a ...
NOT TO BE FOR ALAJAJIAN IN F3 FINALE
The 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star finished on a somewhat frustrating note at Oran Park for Chris Alajajian, with promising pace going unrewarded.
As part of a partial campaign in the open-wheel class, the Sydneysider took part in the season finale, having missed recent rounds to focus on his Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series activities with Protecnica Racing.
The weekend would be a challenge from the outset, with neither Alajajian nor the Jack Hillermans Smash-sponsored squad possessing any Formula 3 data or experience at the 2.7km circuit. With that in mind, the 19 year-old played out a steady start to the weekend, focusing on finding a setup for the two 15-lap races.
Alajajian's times improved and the margin to the leaders reduced with each session. In the end, he secured fourth on the grid for Race 1 and third for Race 2, under four-tenths of a second shy of pole position.
"I've never driven a Formula 3 car here before, so we started with a blank sheet in te rms of the setup," said Alajajian. "We spent Friday getting the balance of the car and looking after the basics like gear ratios and ride heights.
"We knew that we weren't going to be right on the pace straight away, but it was satisfying to close the gap with each session. By the time it came to the second qualifying session, the car was pretty good and we just missed out on a front row starting position."
The pair of races would prove to be less satisfying for the driver of the Jack Hillermans Smash Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304 despite strong race pace. Alajajian's run in the opener was cut short by leaking coolant with a broken radiator hose.
"I was looking forward to having a good race, but unfortunately it wasn't to be," he said.
"Especially in qualifying we made a lot of ground with the car and I think we would've been able to run at a good pace at the front of the field."
Alajajian settled into third place early in Race 2, before a spin exiting Turn 5 dropped him down the order. He recovered to finish in fourth place, with the third fastest lap of the race.
"Unfortunately I was taking the wider line coming off the bridge and spun on the debris which was off-line," Alajajian surmised.
"Seeing as we came here without any testing prior to the weekend and having never run a Formula 3 car here, I think we did pretty well overall.
"We had the pace and the car was set up to come on strongly later in the race, and I probably could've been in the top two or three if not for the spin."
Alajajian's next race meeting will be the final round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Phillip Island Raceway on December 8-10.