MINI Challenge

2010 MINI Challenge – Round 3, Queensland Raceway

2010 MINI Challenge - Australia

At the end of an action packed Round 3 Chris Alajajian still leads the 2010 Australian MINI Challenge. But he didn’t have it all his own way. A qualifying infringement cost Alajajian points and sent him to the back of the grid for Race 1.

Alajajian made good progress in the opening race to finish in sixth place. Defending MINI Challenge champion Paul Stokell crossed the line first, but it was that spectacular accident from Kain Magro that grabbed the headlines and made news clips around the world. Magro’s car rolled seven times, leaping into the crowd on its journey. Amazingly just two spectators suffered minor injuries. Magro also walked away from the crash unscathed.

The second race returned to normal on track action and was won by a fast charging Alajajian. Race 3 was red flagged following Sarah Harvey’s rollover. It happened on the same corner as Magro’s crash the previous day. Despite heavy contact with the tyre wall, Harvey suffered no serious injury. These MINI Challenge racecars are tough little buggers it would seem.

Races 3 and 4 were both won by Alajajian, with Warren Luff and Stokell sharing the podium. In fact, Luff and Stokell finished in the top three placings for all four races over the weekend. Even though Luff didn’t win a race, his consistency and Alajajian’s lost qualifying points ensured Luff claimed the round win. Stokell finished the round in second place and in the process moved up the points table from fifth to second, cutting Alajajian’s overall series lead by four points.

Television highlights, driver quotes and the current championship table can all be seen after the jump.

MINI Challenge

Another MINI Challenge crash at Ipswich 300

Sarah Harley's MINI Challenge racecar crashes into the tyre barrier

The MINI Challenge series has seen another spectacular crash at the Ipswich 300 event held at Queensland Raceway today. Sarah Harley’s car reportedly had a sticking throttle, forcing her car to understeer off the track and into the tyre wall. The impact happened at high speed and she was lucky to walk away with no serious injury.

After the incident Harley was taken to hospital for observation but was soon released. On her return to the track she said, “That was a really big hit this morning and it is a testament to the MINI and its strength that I walked away with just a bit of whiplash. It was scary heading into the tyre wall so fast I kind of tensed up and braced myself. It was a hard impact but all the safety features on the car did their job and officials worked really quickly to help me out of the car and secure the situation.”

News footage of today’s incident from Channel Seven can be seen after the break. The clip also includes a brief interview with Kain Magro, the driver involved in yesterday’s dramatic incident.

In on-track news the round was won by Warren Luff, who was making his MINI Challenge debut. Defending champion Paul Stokell ended the round in second place, while current series leader Chris Alajajian came home in third. A highlights package of this round will air nationally next weekend on the Seven Network (check you local guides for details).

Photos of the two crashes can be seen at the Catch Fence Photos forum.

MINI Challenge

Two spectators injured after MINI Challenge crash

MINI Challenge crash @ Ipswich 300

An incident in the first race of this weekend’s MINI Challenge round at Queensland Raceway has resulted in injury for two race goers.

A statement from MINI Challenge organisers reads, “Two spectators were injured and transported to Ipswich Base Hospital. The extent of their injuries appears to be relatively minor, pending full medical evaluation. Both were conscious whilst being treated at the scene. There were no other reported injuries.”

The accident happened after a car was involved in an accident and flipped into the air, cartwheeling over a safety barrier. According to the official statement the driver was taken to Ipswich Base Hospital by ambulance for precautionary tests and is believed to be uninjured. FoxSports have reported the driver involved was Kain Magro.

More details as they come to hand. The full statement from MINI Challenge is available below.

[Pics: 7 News]

UPDATE #1: A Channel Ten news segment reporting on this incident can now be seen below. It is worth noting that the Channel Ten report stating the driver was injured is incorrect. Thanks to smarm providing a separate link to crash footage.

UPDATE #2: News footage from host broadcaster Channel Seven is also available below.

MINI Challenge

2010 MINI Challenge – Round 3 Preview

Chris Alajajian, current series leader, 2010 MINI Challenge

This weekend’s MINI Challenge round at Queensland Raceway includes a few firsts for the series. The most obvious is the debut of the John Cooper Works MINI Challenge racecars on the Ipswich circuit. In addition the usual three race program will be replaced with a four race card, including two races on Saturday and two races on Sunday.

MINI Challenge Category Manager Ted Toleman is looking forward to the weekend, “It is great to see a four-race format for the first time in our series. We have seen some incredibly close racing over the last two events and now the fans in Queensland will be treated to even more of this exciting racing. We have competitors as young as 16-years-old in the series and for the young guys there is nothing better than experience and track-time to help them progress positively through their careers.”

Another first this weekend will be the appearance of Sarah Harley, who will be the first female to race in the MINI Challenge for 2010. She will be joined by a number of V8 Supercar drivers, including Warren Luff, Luke Youlden and Dean Canto.

Steven Bradbury returns to the MINI Challenge grid at the wheel of the Pizza Capers Ãœber-star car and he hopes this experience will allow him to further his motorsport ambitions, “I love driving race cars and I’m counting down the days until I hit the track at QR. The experience I gained last year in the MINI, and having driven at QR before, will hopefully enable me to be quite competitive. I have longer term aspirations in motorsport and driving the UberStar Car is an opportunity that might help me realise those aspirations.”

With 16 cars to line up this weekend the action is sure to be fast paced and full of thrills. Can Chris Alajajian continue his early season speed, or will defending champion Paul Stokell start a charge up the points table?

A few press releases from MINI can be found after the jump and if you can’t get to Queensland Raceway this weekend make sure you book some time on the couch the following weekend for the Channel 7 highlights package scheduled for 8 May.