RESURGENT ALAJAJIAN EYEING CONTINUED F3 FIGHT BACK AT 'THE CREEK' The Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star heads to Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway this weekend, with Protecnica Racing's Chris Alajajian looking to...
RESURGENT ALAJAJIAN EYEING CONTINUED F3 FIGHT BACK AT 'THE CREEK'
The Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star heads to Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway this weekend, with Protecnica Racing's Chris Alajajian looking to continue his championship fight back.
The Sydney-based teenager has been one of the form drivers to date in 2005, holding a share of the championship lead earlier in the year, before a tough run at Phillip Island in May saw him drop to third place in the race for the prestigious CAMS Gold Star.
Eager to bounce back, Protecnica Racing - a team with which Alajajian had already enjoyed successful association with, through a championship win in the 2004 Australian Production Car Championship, and race success in the Australian Performance Car Championship - was enlisted to prepare Chris' Renault-Sodemo powered Dallara F304.
It was the first time the Sydney based team had ever campaigned in the open wheel class, with previous experience consisting primarily of production-based Subaru's. After a conservative start to the weekend, Alajajian stormed home on race day to record a second and third place finish in the races.
"We needed it," said Alajajian of the podium finishes in the Sunshine State. "We came back well in Queensland. (Aaron) Caratti had it the whole weekend, but we went to the round with no testing and were very fast in both the races.
"It was amazing how a team who had never dealt with an F3 car before could end the weekend in second outright, so that was a great effort by all the Protecnica team."
With a solid race weekend and some information now under their belt with the car, Alajajian is looking forward to further improvement and recording some more good results on a weekend which will host the category's 100th race.
"It's like trial and error," he said. "Unlike some of the other teams, we didn't have a chance to do any testing prior to the round at Queensland Raceway, to do some of that trial and error work before the weekend started, so the race weekend Queensland was like a big test day for us.
"We will be looking to improve on the results from here on in. We will look at getting into the testing side of it, because it's a new team and testing new things, so hopefully we'll continue to improve and score some results as we learn."
In 2004, the 3.93 km circuit was the scene of Chris' first Formula 3 start. While it was a less than ideal weekend, he recorded solid finishes of seventh and eighth in the two races.
"Last year, I didn't have a good time at Eastern Creek, because of my starts in the races," Alajajian admits. "I stalled in both races, so it really put me off for the rest of the race.
"This year, I'm going in with a confident mind that I won't do anything stupid off the start so we can get a positive ending result."
Eastern Creek Raceway is Chris' home track in the 2005 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star. He enters the weekend, round five of eight, in 3rd place in the championship, 43 points behind championship leader Aaron Caratti.
The weekend kicks off with practice tomorrow, Friday, before qualifying on Saturday. On Sunday, Alajajian will be among the field that lines up for a pair of 13 lap races.
Entry to the Australian Motor Racing Series at Eastern Creek Raceway is free on Saturday, with Sunday tickets just $15, and $10 for concession.
Protecnica Racing thanks the ongoing support of Jack Hillermans Smash, Elf Oil, Scuderia Veloce Motors, Nudie, Workflow Systems, Bilstein, Moody Kiddell & Partners, Heasman Steering, Disc Brakes Australia and Hawk Performance.
For more about Chris Alajajian, check out www.TheChris.com.au