YOONG COMES HOME IN STYLE KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, March 15, 2002 - Malaysia's first Formula One driver, Alex Yoong, made an excellent start to his "home" Grand Prix today, enjoying two fruitful practice sessions in his KL Minardi Asiatech ...
YOONG COMES HOME IN STYLE
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, March 15, 2002 - Malaysia's first Formula One driver, Alex Yoong, made an excellent start to his "home" Grand Prix today, enjoying two fruitful practice sessions in his KL Minardi Asiatech and emerging an excellent 19th fastest at the end of the first day of preparations for this weekend's Formula One World Championship round. The 25-year-old, from Kuala Lumpur, shrugged off any debutant jitters at the challenging Sepang International Circuit and, in blisteringly hot conditions, worked with his engineers to fine-tune the performance of his car.
Team mate, Mark Webber, fresh from his tremendous fifth-place finish in the Australian Grand Prix, didn't do quite so well on the opening day in Malaysia, suffering a spin in the first session that landed him in a gravel trap and an engine problem on the first lap out of the garage in the second session that brought his efforts to a premature end.
"It was not too bad a day for me and, happily, it was totally different from the Friday we had in Australia. I was able to go out for the whole of the two sessions and piled up a lot of laps. The new tyres Michelin have made available for us here seem good, but obviously we haven't tested with them before, so we still need to do quite a bit of set-up work to improve the car. But it is a good start."
"It was not a very good day from my point of view, but it can happen very easily on Fridays when, unfortunately, you cannot use the T-car. I made a mistake in the first session and finished in the gravel, and then we had an engine problem in the second session, when I had just gone for my first lap out of the pits. We therefore have done only two timed laps. Obviously, I would have liked to get into the circuit a bit more as it looks like a challenging track, but now I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"Despite the extremely hot conditions, Alex completed his entire technical programme in both sessions and recorded an excellent fastest lap of 1 min 41.805 secs for the 19th quickest time of the day. The plan now is to help him build on this excellent start to the weekend. Mark obviously didn't get the opportunity to show his true potential today with only five laps completed in the first session and the loss of the entire second session. We look forward to him having a better day tomorrow."
THE ASIATECH VIEW
This has been a mixed day for Asiatech. On the positive side, Alex Yoong was able to carry out the full test programme decided by his engineers. Mark Webber's practice, however, was cut short by an engine problem, which could be linked to the rise in engine temperature following his spin in the morning session.
PS02/02 - Alex Yoong (No 22)
Position: 19th Fastest lap: 1 min 41.805 secs
PS02/01 - Mark Webber(No 23)
Position: 22nd Fastest lap: 1 min 44.583 secs
PS02/03 - spare