Apologies for the lateness of this update. In short, Chris Alajajian didn’t manage a race win, but he still pocketed enough points to take the Round win at Phillip Island and maintained his MINI Challenge series lead.
Defending champion Paul Stokell had his share of dramas and followed victory in Race 1 by missing all but one corner of Race 2 due to an accident on lap 1. A massive shout out to his Deco Rug team for getting him back on track for Race 3. He didn’t let them down, either, putting in a stirring drive from the back of the grid to cross the line in first place. It was that sort of weekend, really.
Highlights can be see after the jump, as well as the series leaderboard. Also included is a onboard footage from Sean Carter’s car. It shows all of Race 1 and is added with thanks to the MINI Challenge YouTube channel.
The MINI Challenge returns this weekend at the Gold Coast 600.
Stokell Performs Miracles But Alajajian Takes The Cake At Phillip Island
Chris Alajajian has won his fourth round of the year in Hertz MINI Challenge â€“ delivered by Pizza Capers Series at this weekendâ€™s L&H 500 at Phillip Island.
Todayâ€™s final race, however, saw a shade of pure brilliance by last yearâ€™s MINI Challenge champion Paul Stokell. After starting at the rear of the grid the DecoRug driver pulled off one of the greatest drives in MINI Challenge history to carve up the field and win the race over team-mate Josh Hunt.
Alajajianâ€™s consistency saw him finish the round on top of the podium but only by the slimmest of margins to 25-year-old Hunt who showed superb form to finish on the podium in both races today and just one point behind Alajajian for the round. The final rostrum step was claimed by another series debutant in Elliot Barbour who, at 19-years-old, showed great maturity to steer the McElrea-run R56 Challenge car home in fantastic style.
Fourth overall was Gold Coast MINI Dealer Beric Lynton while Pizza Capers UberStar driver Craig Innes showcased his talents on the way to a top-5 finish during the Kiwiâ€™s first motorsport trip downunder.
Unfortunately for local lad Sean Carter disaster struck in race 2 this morning when the 19-year-old Victorian left the track on the opening lap, losing control on the grass and spearing back on, right into the path of series front-runner Stokell. It still didnâ€™t deter Stokell and his team from re-entering this afternoonâ€™s final race and pull off the miracle of all drives to win.
Prosurv Racingâ€™s John Modystachâ€™s consistency paid off as he finished the round equal seventh with Kiwi Gavin Yortt, while Sydneysider Aaron Zerefos steered his Fiji Water entry to ninth as he diced with Brisbane-based Brendan â€˜Cookieâ€™ Cook throughout the weekend.
Initially local Peter McNiven had won the round but was later deducted 44 championship points for a rules infringement prior to race 2.
After round 5, Hertz MINI Challenge â€“ delivered by Pizza Capers is still being dominated by JAXQuickfit driver Alajajian as he extends his lead over Stokell in the series. McNiven remains third, despite his penalty, with Carter 27 points behind and Squawking Magpie Wines driver Yortt 34.5 adrift to round out the top-5.
Round six of Hertz MINI Challenge â€“ delivered by Pizza Capers takes crews to the surf, sun and fun-pack Armor All Gold Coast 600, October 22-24.
Round 5 Winner Chris Alajajian said:
â€œTo win four of the five round this year is a great feeling and it puts me in a great position to win the championship with two rounds remaining. Itâ€™s no time to rest though because the points-structure of this series means we could very easily be caught with a couple of DNFs so its key to stay focused for the final two events. To be honest I wasnâ€™t 100 percent happy this weekend. We struggled a bit with the car setup and I just didnâ€™t feel fully confident with it, but it just goes to show that the more races you finish the better your chances are of the ultimate result.â€
Round 5 runner-up Josh Hunt said:
â€œIt was a really good experience driving these MINIs at Phillip Island and Iâ€™m happy that I could finish second despite my lack of experience in this series. That was a fantastic last race today and full-points to my team-mate Paul, [Stokell] he drove a hell of a race and it just goes to show how much experience counts in these cars and how good a driver he is! I really enjoyed myself this weekend and I hope that our performance might entice the DecoRug bosses to put me back in the car for the Gold Coast which is my home event and a track Iâ€™d love to attack behind the wheel of one of these MINIs!
2010 Hertz MINI Challenge â€“ delivered by Pizza Capers
Round 5 results
- Paul Stokell
- Chris Alajajian
- Sean Carter
- Peter McNiven
- Elliot Barbour
- Josh Hunt
- Paul Stokell
- Josh Hunt
- Peter McNiven
2010 Australian MINI Challenge Championship Table â€“ Top 10
|1||Chris ALAJAJIAN||JAX Quickfit Tyres||596|
|2||Paul STOKELL||DecoRug Racing||536.5|
|3||Peter McNIVEN||Supercharge Batteries||474|
|4||Sean CARTER||Plan4Growth/ON TIME EARTH||447|
|5||Gavin YORTT||Squawking Magpie Wines||412.5|
|6||Brendan COOK||Transquip Hire/ABC Autogear||334|
|9||Glenn SETON||Pizza Capers||206|