THE HEAT IS ON KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, March 16, 2002 - In sauna-like conditions at the Sepang International Circuit, KL Minardi Asiatech drivers, Mark Webber and Alex Yoong, qualified comfortably for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix, eventually...
THE HEAT IS ON
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, March 16, 2002 - In sauna-like conditions at the Sepang International Circuit, KL Minardi Asiatech drivers, Mark Webber and Alex Yoong, qualified comfortably for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix, eventually securing the 21st and 22nd places on the grid respectively. Both PS02 chassis ran without any notable mechanical problems, thus allowing the drivers to work through the full technical programme laid down by the team's engineers.
Interestingly, the weather and track conditions at Sepang were such that lap times generally showed little or no improvement on those set last year. Tomorrow, the team has been told to expect highly audible support from the Malaysian fans in the grandstands, who will be cheering on fellow countryman, Alex Yoong, as he becomes the first Malaysian driver to compete in his home Grand Prix.
"This actually was the first real F1 qualifying session I have completed, since Melbourne was a bit of a mixed- up affair. I have enjoyed the track a lot, although I still want to improve a little bit in myself in terms of getting more from qualifying. It's something I will be working on. Still, the guys did a great job and we have largely been able to recover what we lost in terms of running time yesterday."
"I feel a little bit disappointed, as I just didn't quite string together the laps. I felt it should have been possible to do the same time as Mark today. Towards the end of the session, we tried a couple of changes, but they didn't seem to improve the car. Tomorrow is going to be tough for everyone, though, and it is definitely going to be a battle for survival. We just need to make sure we are around at the finish."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"Despite occupying the front row of the grid at the wrong end, tomorrow we can always hope for an action-packed start, as in Melbourne, with Alex and Mark both able to avoid the incidents and take the chequered flag in points-scoring positions. On a slightly more serious note, however, qualifying both cars less than four seconds off the pole position time is not a bad result from our point of view."
"As for the race, the temperature could prove to be a 'car killer', in which case we might still have a chance at a top-10 result. We wish Alex all the best for tomorrow, when he will make a little bit of motor racing history by becoming the first Malaysian driver to compete in the Malaysian Grand Prix."
THE ASIATECH VIEW
This has been a fruitful day's practice for Asiatech. Both drivers covered a large number of laps in very hot and humid conditions; thus the information gathered will prove very useful for tomorrow's race.
PS02/02 - Alex Yoong (No 22)
Fastest lap: 1 min 40.158 secs
PS02/01 - Mark Webber(No 23)
Fastest lap: 1 min 39.454 secs
PS02/03 - spare