Kuala Lumpur -- Tuesday, 12th Mar 2002 -- KL Minardi Asiatech's Malaysian driver Alex Yoong revealed at a radio chat show yesterday that he let Salo through because of blue flags being waved. "It was just after my pit stop when blue flags were...
Kuala Lumpur -- Tuesday, 12th Mar 2002 -- KL Minardi Asiatech's Malaysian driver Alex Yoong revealed at a radio chat show yesterday that he let Salo through because of blue flags being waved. "It was just after my pit stop when blue flags were waved frantically, which I thought was for me. I couldn't hear the radio properly and had no idea who those behind me were in what positions, so I let them through." explained Yoong.
"Later I discovered that the flags were waved for Pedro dela Rosa who was 4 laps down and had Salo behind him. I would not have made it that easy for Salo had I known that he was behind me."
Yoong who will be starting his fifth Grand Prix this weekend at Sepang, also spoke about what his first appearance ever in his home Grand Prix means to him as fans will be turning out in droves to watch him. "The Malaysian Grand Prix is very important to me, not only because it is my debut at home in a Formula 1 race but also because my fans had never seen me race professionally in Malaysia before."
Yoong said the pressure will be great but will not affect him as once he gets into the car all other thoughts other than the job in hand are banished from his head. "I hope that I'll have the luck as Mark (Webber) had for his home Grand Prix and not that which Barichello (Rubens) had for his as he had not finished in 7 out of 8 consecutive home Grand Prixs in Brazil."
The Sepang Circuit had reported a huge surge of ticket sales this year as compared to previous years. Yoong's debut at home had no doubt contributed a big part to this but there are other factors too. Like the marked increase of last minute Australian decision to travel to Sepang because of the great show Webber had given to his Aussie fans.
On any home advantage for him in Malaysia, Yoong said there is none even though the weather may be better tolerated by him than others. "We will have our work cut out because the absence of the power steering system will be tough physically on both Mark and me. Sepang also has longer high downforce corners than Albert Park, so the physical demands are even greater."
Although it will be against great odds for the KL Minardi Asiatech team to repeat their Melbourne performance, the team however would line up the grid as one of the favourite teams for the Sepang crowd come this Sunday. Add to this, any possible divine intervention, as team owner Paul Stoddart had wished for, we may yet see an unexpected performance from the Minardi team.