FNIPPON: Yoong in top ten at sugo

Monday, 31st July 2000 - Sugo, Japan - Malaysia's Formula 1 aspirant, Alex Yoong had his second top ten finish in the 2000 Formula Nippon (F3000) Championship when he finished ninth overall out of 19 cars in rd 6 held at the Sugo Circuit ...

Monday, 31st July 2000 - Sugo, Japan - Malaysia's Formula 1 aspirant, Alex Yoong had his second top ten finish in the 2000 Formula Nippon (F3000) Championship when he finished ninth overall out of 19 cars in rd 6 held at the Sugo Circuit yesterday.

This was achieved despite a 10 second stop go penalty which he had to take in the pit lane while lying eighth for an alleged jump start which then dropped him down to 17th.

"I thought I had a perfect start when I took 2 cars from my 11th grid position. The call by the start judges must have been marginal at best. I was so disappointed when I saw the signal to pull me in for the penalty." said Alex.

"But I had to respect the decision, otherwise I would have been disqualified. It was very difficult to raise my level after that but I just kept my head down and concentrated on setting quick laps."

Alex clocked the fourth fastest time of the day with a best lap time of 1m 13.982s, just three tenths off the fastest race lap of 1m 13.687 clocked by J.Wakisaka.

Team Director K. Homma said "Alex has done a good job this weekend. He's getting stronger with each race and has closed the gap to the top drivers quite considerably. It is not easy at Sugo as the last turn gives the driver's neck a heavy beating. Alex drove strongly after the tyre stop to take advantage of other drivers dropping out."

Team Nakajima's Toranasuke Takagi again won with a total time of 1h 15m 28.393s. This was Takagi's fifth win from six starts. Second was Briton Ralph Firman at 1h 15m 44.370s and third, K.Kaneishi, seven seconds further back. The race was run over 60 laps of the 3.704km Sugo Circuit in 36degrees centigrade temperature.

With Takagi's dominant form in one of the world's most competitive championships, rumors were circulating the Formula Nippon paddock this weekend that Takagi could rejoin Formula 1 next year under a push made by Honda. It was said that the team Takagi would join may be the British American Racing Team.

The next round will be held on the 20th Aug at the TwinRing Motegi Circuit. Alex is now looking forward to the next round where he hopes to score his first points of the season.

"This weekend showed that I would have scored at least 2 points by finishing fifth had I not been penalized. I'm getting more comfortable with the championship now and it's very possible for me to chalk up my first points at the next round." Alex confided.

Alex is sponsored by the fullflex RADIUS, TAG Heuer, Brylcreem, Pan Global Insurance, NeuroNet Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines. Team Malaysia which Alex is running with is operated by the LeMans Co. with support from the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports and Japan Race Promotions.

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Ralph Firman