FNIPPON: Alex Yoong Impresses in Suzuka Formula Nippon Tests

Malaysia's Alex Yoong had an impressive debut outing in Japan's Formula Nippon (F3000) at the Suzuka Circuit with Team PIAA Nakajima and Team Unlimited Le Mans on the 8th and 9th of December 1999. At the end of two sessions with Team PIAA ...

Malaysia's Alex Yoong had an impressive debut outing in Japan's Formula Nippon (F3000) at the Suzuka Circuit with Team PIAA Nakajima and Team Unlimited Le Mans on the 8th and 9th of December 1999.

At the end of two sessions with Team PIAA Nakajima and one session with Team Unlimited Le Mans, Alex was only 0.597 second off the pace of veteran T. Tsuchiya of Japan and was fifth fastest out of 12 in the third session in the 5.9 km Suzuka Circuit with a time of 1m 48.281s.

Tsuchiya clocked 1m 47.684s to set fastest time in the third session.

Alex had done 60 laps with Team PIAA Nakajima and 31 laps with Team Unlimited Le Mans.

"The Formula Nippon Reynard is much more physical to drive than the European F3000 Lola, it has much higher downforce and more technical. Going through the 130R corner at 4 Gs is a real challenge. I don't think I blinked even once in the 90 laps of testing over the two days. It was great both in terms of driving the car and working with the top teams of Nakajima and Le Mans." said Alex.

Team owner Mr. Satoru Nakajima, Japan's Formula 1 legend, was pleasantly surprised with Alex's ability, " Alex is very much better than I originally thought. The Suzuka circuit is not an easy circuit for first time drivers. He had done a good job and I'm impressed."

Mr. Honma, team manager of Le Mans said "Alex is very quick and he has the ability to do well next year in Formula Nippon."

Britain's Ralph Firman, the 1996 British F3 champion, who will be competing in his fourth year of Formula Nippon next year and Formula Nippon's final round winner this year, did a race distance test over 46 laps in the third session to finish with a second best time of 1m 47.736s.

Earlier, during the first and second session, 1998 Formula Nippon champion, Motoyama of Team Le Mans and Firman were testing the year 2000 soft compound tyres which were about 2 seconds faster over the harder compound tyres which all the other drivers had used over the two test days.

Japan Race Promotion who organized the tests for Alex will be meeting with Team PIAA Nakajima and Team Le Mans early next week. The team seat for Alex Yoong will be announced after that.

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