Istanbul: Alex Yoong qualifying report

RfH Duo of Jan Lammers and Alex Yoong Qualified Third With Dome Mugen In the Istanbul 1000km of the 2006 Le Mans Series Saturday, 08 April 2006 - Istanbul Park, Turkey - The RfH Dome Mugen of Jan Lammers and Alex Yoong secured third position at...

RfH Duo of Jan Lammers and Alex Yoong Qualified Third With Dome Mugen In the Istanbul 1000km of the 2006 Le Mans Series

Saturday, 08 April 2006 - Istanbul Park, Turkey - The RfH Dome Mugen of Jan Lammers and Alex Yoong secured third position at the Le Mans Series opening round's qualifying in Istanbul, Turkey today.

The duo has quietly been improving each of the three free practice sessions with sixth in the first session, fifth in the second and fourth in the third earlier on Friday and Saturday.

Having put the team in the second row, pundits are now predicting a strong finish for the Dome Mugen as the RfH team is blessed with two matched drivers who are equally quick, "This team could make it onto the top step of the podium tomorrow if their run is trouble free.", predicted some lead media covering the Le Mans Series.

RfH team boss and principal driver commended Yoong on his efforts in the team so far, "Alex has done a good job with the team and he will be the team's driver to do the warm-up session and also start the race tomorrow."

Yoong, a front runner with the just concluded A1GP inaugural series was pleased with the qualifying by the team, saying, "We are happy with third as we had a little problem with the front damper of the car so tomorrow we should be better. Its great for me that Jan is sending me out for the first stint in the car."

The LMP and GT split qualifying sessions provided great action on the track with an added twist when raindrops started to fall on the Istanbul Park circuit. Nevertheless, just seven hundredths of a second separated the top two starters in Sunday's 1000km race. Nicholas Minassian in the Creation and Frenchmen Emmanuel Collard in the Pescarolo battled throughout the session, with the Pescarolo pilot came out on top.

"It took a long time to get heat into the tyres, and then I had a small flat-spot on a front tyre when I made the time" said Collard.Nicolas Minassian was characteristically honest about the outcome of qualifying. "When you miss out by so little, it's disappointing! But I'm really pleased we managed to be so close to the Pescarolo which, at the end of the day, is the benchmark for Hybrids.

Fourth and fifth in the LMP1 category went to the two new Courage LC70's - the works entry of Shinji Nakano, Haruki Kurosawa and Jean-Marc Gounon edging out the Swiss Sport entry of Marcel Fassler and Harold Primat. Sixth went to the new Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B06/10 of Bob Berridge, Peter Owen and Gareth Evans.

The 36 strong field is set for the 1000km race tomorrow. The weather being unpredictable, the teams will be asking if rain will play a factor in the race. But whatever comes it looks like a really great opening race for the 2006 Le Mans Series.

-Max Revson - Racing For Malaysia

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Series European Le Mans
Drivers Jan Lammers , Nicolas Minassian , Shinji Nakano , Emmanuel Collard , Alex Yoong , Marcel Fassler , Harold Primat , Haruki Kurosawa , Jean-Marc Gounon , Bob Berridge , Gareth Evans , Peter Owen