Qualifying setback by
Following the encouraging first day of practice at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Sydney, Australia, A1 Team Lebanon’s fortunes were reversed today with Australian-Lebanese driver, Chris Alajajian, crashing out of qualifying on his first lap of the afternoon.
The team had their first setback in the morning practice session, with the team opting not to run due to a shortage of tyres. In yesterday’s practice, en route to fifth fastest lap, Alajajian had flat-spotted a tyre which, as well as compromising his pace, left the team with one less set of practice tyres. With a limited supply of tyres available to each team for the race weekend and in efforts to perform as well as possible in qualifying, the team made the decision to sacrifice the majority of the final hour of practice running, just running two laps at the end of it.
The team’s chances of a strong qualifying session were dashed right at the start. As Alajajian pushed hard to make sure he was on the pace for his ‘flying lap’ he ran wide and spun into the tyre wall on his opening lap. With extensive damage, there was no time to make the repairs needed before the end of the qualifying session, leaving the Lebanon team at the back of the grid for both the Sprint and Feature races.
Alajajian was upset with the outcome of the day, saying, “I’m totally gutted. I want to apologise to the team for my mistake which has been so costly to us. I know that everyone in the team will now have a hard night ahead of them repairing the car and I’m sorry that this has happened. I can’t quite believe this has happened and can only hope that we can salvage something tomorrow.”
Trevor Bale, Team Manager, A1 Team Lebanon, said, “It’s been a very difficult day for us. There’s obviously tremendous pressure on Chris at his home circuit and I think his inexperience got the better of him. Unfortunately a fairly small mistake has had major repercussions on us. We have to completely rebuild the car which will take considerable time, but we will be able to make the grid for the two races tomorrow and ensure that the Lebanese fans will be able to support the team here.”
A1 Team Lebanon has plenty of support in Australia, with many of the large Lebanese population expected to attend tomorrow’s race day in Sydney. ‘Lebanon Hill’ at the first turn of the track is the traditional meeting point for the flag-waving fans and both Beschir and Alajajian plan to visit their loyal followers tomorrow. The track action begins with the Sprint race at 11 am and the Feature race starting at 3 pm.