ALEX YOONG AGAIN MAKES THE CUT FOR FIA INTERNATIONAL F3000 RACE
Nurburgring, Germany -- Tursday, 23rd Sept 1999 -- Malaysia's only Formula 1 hope, Alex Yoong today chalked up his second successive qualification for the FIA International F3000 race when he finished 13th out of 20 drivers in his group to make the grid for Saturday's round 10 of the championship.
In round 9 at Spa, three weeks ago where Alex crashed heavily on lap 5 when Justice Wilson made an overly ambitious move on Alex while Alex was lying 10th in the race after qualifying 8th in his group.
Alex's Monaco Motorsports team-mate M.Batistuzzi of Brazil failed to qualify for the race when he finished 19th in Group 2 leaving Alex to carry the team's hope for the 45 lap race at the 4.555 km Nurburgring Circuit at 3.00pm on Saturday the 25th of Sept.
After the qualifying session, Alex said, "As usual, qualifying for the international F3000 is very tough but I'm very pleased to have scrapped through despite my car having massive understeer problems. It will be alright for the race and I am now hoping that it will be wet on race day so as to even out the playing field a bit. It'll be tough coming from behind otherwise."
Monaco Motorsports' team owner Lamberto Leoni praised Alex's efforts, " Again Alex had shown he can do a job well despite the odds. He said he's 100 % now but I'm sure he's not risking 100 % for the qualifying session as the car was badly set up. But it'll be crucial experience for him to be racing here this weekend as he will be a title contender next year if he gets the necessary support for his championship bid for 2000."
Only 26 cars will start the race on Saturday with 13 cars from each group making the cut. Champion elect Nick Heidfeld of Germany who had signed to join Prost F1 for next year grabbed pole in group 1 while last round's winner Jason Watt of Denmark qualifying in group 2 will share front row with Heidfeld.
Footnote : There is a government led lobby brewing in Malaysia for Alex to test for the Malaysian oil company aponsored Red Bull Petronas Sauber F1 Team. With Brazil's Enrique Bernoldi who drives for the Red Bull F3000 Team having tested for the Sauber Team less than a week ago, and being out-qualified by Alex in the last two F3000 rounds in Spa and today, Petronas is expected to be under greater pressure to support Alex Yoong. Bernoldi did not make the cut in both the F3000 races at Spa three weeks ago and today at Nurburgring.
The Alex Yoong Racing-for-Malaysia project is supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports, Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines, Proton, PanGlobal Insurance, Brylcreem, Neuronet Malaysia and SAMP.