Not content with sitting on the sidelines after seeing his A1GP ride with Team Lebanon go to a US-based hopeful, Chris Alajajian will return to the Australian F3 fold on one of the biggest stages of them all this weekend, having inked a deal for the Nikon Indy 300 on the Gold Coast.
The 22-year old has agreed terms with Melbourne-based Astuti Motorsport to line up against a field that includes the best and brightest stars from this year's championship, plus a handful of visiting internationals.
“Street circuits really suit my driving style, and I love Indy, so why wouldn't I want to come back?” Alajajian asked as he prepared to join Chris Gilmour as the only survivor from F3's last outing on the iconic Surfers Paradise circuit, having made his F3 debut at the 2004 Indy 300 event, driving an Astuti-prepared F301 Dallara.
Alajajian will jump into the same F307 chassis that won in James Winslow's hands at Oran Park earlier this year, giving him a chance to compete at the very front of a talent-filled grid.
”I'm hoping to use my experience at Indy in an F3 car to my advantage,” he admitted, “I know the track, I know the cars and I've worked with Astuti Motorsport many times before so, hopefully, it will all come together nicely and work well for us. I've worked with Sam [Astuti] before and he's a great mechanic and engineer. I've won races with his team before and I'm looking forward to racing with them again.”
After driving with A1 Team Lebanon in the 2007-08 season – and racing against John Martin, who will drive for Scuderia Piccola at Indy, at Eastern Creek's A1GP round in January - Alajajian has had a quiet year, although he returned for a one-off drive at the Eastern Creek F3 round in July, taking a pair of podium finishes despite not having driven an F3 car for over eight months. Now he says that the competition on offer this weekend prompted him to return to the heat of battle.
”I wouldn't compete if there wasn't good competition and, every time I have raced F3, the series has provided it,” he said, ”Having the likes of John Martin and the other internationals in the field, as well as the top runners in this year's championship, only makes it more exciting - and tougher to win.
"I can't wait to get out there and race with them. It's been a while since I was in a car but, last time I drove in F3, I was on the podium after a long time out of the seat, so hopefully I can pick up where I left off and challenge at the front. I couldn't be more excited.”