Mini Challenge For Chris

by Arin Der Vartanian
History will tell us that Adelaide’s street circuit is one of circuits where Chris Alajajian dominates. Even with 2 lap records and 3 pole positions in his resume at the Adelaide street circuit couldn’t relieve the run of bad luck for Chris during the Clipsal 500 weekend. However after a mental and physically demanding weekend, he is channelling his thoughts toward the Australian Grand Prix, where he will be behind the wheel once again in the Mini Challenge category. 

Chris arrived to the Adelaide circuit on Thursday morning confident that he can deliver a strong performance for the Jay Motorsport team, and as the first practice session commenced it looked evident that The Chris was going to make his mark once again in the Australian motor racing scene. He held the fourth fastest time early in the practice run, but then experienced fuel problems as his VZ Commodore began to show its age. “I could feel after every corner the engine would miss, the revs would drop, and I’d lose at 2-3 car lengths,” said Alajajian after the first day.

The team of mechanics worked to adjust the set-up of the car to suit the new E-85 ethanol based fuel, but were left scratching their heads when the car’s performance deteriorated in the qualifiers, leaving Alajajian 16th on the grid for Race 1. “A number of red flags during the practice and qualifying sessions made it difficult for me to get a clear lap and try to figure out the technical problems with the car”. 

Friday evening the team looked to have sorted out the problem, and Chris was in high hopes of securing a top 5 finish. As the car’s lined up on the grid and the light flicked to green, Chris jumped off to a solid start, and worked his way through the Senna chicane towards turn 4. A few cars ahead of him Perth-based Mark McNally was hit from behind causing his car to spin out of control just as Alajajian came racing through the 90 degree corner at turn 4. The impact of the crash found McNally’s car pushed off the wall and cut Alajajian’s line, and in an unavoidable incident Alajajian split second reaction saw him whip his steering wheel to the left to prevent a worse collision. 

The accident brought Alajajian and McNally’s weekend to an end as the damage couldn’t be restored in time for Race 2 the following day. David Russel from Howard Racing was the weekend’s winner and currently leads the Fujitsu Development Series ladder. 

Alajajian is channelling his concentration for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix where he’ll be steering the fastest MINI Cooper in the world, in the Mini Challenge Series.

 You can catch the action of the Grand Prix on Network 10's One HD.

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