Hockenheim Circuit, Germany - 31st July 1999 - Malaysia's Alex Yoong, 23, yesterday made substantial improvement to his pace in qualifying for the 1999 FIA F3000 Championship round 7 but still missed the cut for the race scheduled for today.

Half way through the 45 mins. session, Yoong was only seven tenths of a second from qualifying but a bad call to increase down-force when he came into the pits for new tyres dashed his hopes of qualifying when he regressed to slower times during the second half of the session.

"I was experiencing some understeer in my car when I requested more wing but it had proved to be a bad decision. I put it down to inexperience. The session had benefited me greatly though as the confidence to push the car harder is building up. More track time is needed for me to learn and understand the 1999 car better. I still do not have enough feel for the car's limits and what subtle changes are needed to change the balance yet." said Yoong.

"The next FIA round will be in Hungary in two weeks time. It's another new circuit for me. I'll aim for the FIA Spa-Francorpchamp round in Belgium, 5 weeks from now, to qualify for this very competitive championship. It's no point rushing it as I already have a half year headstart to my contemporaries currently racing in F3. Crashing out within 20 minutes of a session will do my reputation more harm than good. "

Brazilian sponsored team, Petrobras, led the qualifiers to claim the front row when both their cars won both the odd numbers and even numbers qualifying sessions with Brazilians Bruno Junqueira and Max Wilson.

Only 13 cars from each of the 20 car field in the two qualifying sessions make the cut as the start grid is fixed at a maximum of 26 cars from the 40 cars entered. The prominent entry who didn't qualify this time is Oliver Gavin of Britain who had Formula 1 experience with the Pacific Formula 1 Team in 1996.

Yoong will be taking a short break from his very busy schedule when he returns to Malaysia early next week. Then it's back to UK on Thursday, the 4th of July 1999 to tackle round 4 of the Italian F3000 Championship scheduled at Donnington Park, GB on the 7th of July 1999.

The Alex Yoong Racing for Malaysia project which is a Malaysian government endorsed project is sponsored by The Ministry of Youth and Sports, Tourism Malaysia, Proton, Pan Global Insurance, Malaysia Airlines, SAMP, and Neuronet Malaysia.