A pair of podium finishes kept Chris Alajajian in the frame at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway, and in the Kumho Tyres Australian F3 Championship race for the CAMS Gold Star award.

With an enthusiastic supporter group on hand at his home track, the 18-year old put in a pair of mature drives and kept his championship points tally ticking over as the series starts it's run towards the end of the season.

In the opening race of the weekend, Alajajian made a clean start from the front row of the grid and settled into second place. He maintained a steady pace, remaining around three seconds in arrears of race and championship leader Aaron Caratti. While he couldn't bridge the gap, he ended the race in second place, with a fastest lap of the race just two-tenths of a second shy of Caratti's record benchmark.

"It wasn't what we expected," Alajajian said, "We made some more changes to the car after qualifying, and we probably went backwards a little bit with the handling from where we were in qualifying. But, it's all about picking up the points while we are learning about the car, so I stuck around and brought it home in second place."

He lined up third on the grid for the weekend's second race, the 100th for Australian F3. On the second lap of the race, he made a move past Chris Gilmour, who made a blinding start and led for the opening lap of the race. Once in second place, he built a cushion over Gilmour and settled in to claim another second place finish, his seventh podium finish of the 2005 championship, in the 13-lap encounter.

"The Protecnica team has done another excellent job this weekend," Alajajian commented, "The set-up wasn't quite there in either race, but that is something that we will come to grips with as time goes on.

"The ground that we have made up since the boys took over the car is great and it is looking positive for the rest of the year. We will have a test before Phillip Island, for the first time, and we'll hopefully keep improving and scoring more results as the year goes on."

While Aaron Caratti extended his championship lead courtesy of his wins and now has 175 points, Alajajian's consistent run sees him progress to 118 points, closing to within ten points of second-placed Michael Trimble with three rounds remaining.



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