FNIPPON: Alex Yoong third in Motegi test

Thursday 7th December 2000 - Malaysia's Alex Yoong celebrated Team LeMans' faith in re-signing him for the 2001 season with an impressive third in the pre-2001 season test held at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit today. Japan Race Promotion and...

Thursday 7th December 2000 - Malaysia's Alex Yoong celebrated Team LeMans' faith in re-signing him for the 2001 season with an impressive third in the pre-2001 season test held at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit today.

Japan Race Promotion and LeMans Co. of Japan confirmed the reappointment of Alex Yoong to spearhead the 2001 Malaysia Team LeMans only two days ago.

The 1999 Formula Nippon Championship runner-up and this year's round 10 winner S. Motoyama topped the times today with a fastest time of 1m 34.060s with R. Michigami second with a fastest time of 1m 34.327s.

Alex Yoong posted his fastest lap at the very last lap of the second 2-hour session in the afternoon with a time of 1m 35.029s to justify his selection for the new season ahead.

Fourth was Team Nakajima's 2000 season race winner T. Matsuda who posted his fastest lap at 1m 35.053s. D. Ito and S. Ara were fifth and sixth at 1m 35.298s and 1m 35.369s respectively. German and Japanese GT front runner, D. Schwager was seventh at 1m 35.524s.

Team Director K. Homma said, "Alex was very consistent throughout the 4 hour test and in the final hour he made 12 laps of 1m 35s laps. He did not pput a foot wrong all day and we'll look forward to a good new season with Alex."

Alex was happy with his day's work, "We spent the morning session running on old tyres to get a good set up. I am very pleased with the team and myself with the work done, as we were able to try a lot of new things on the car. We put on new tyres half way through the afternoon session but I set my time at the end when the tryes were already old."

Accompanying Alex in the Motegi test is Alex's new race boss in another series. Asia Pacific LeMans Series in Paradise's promoter, Zain Low was at Motegi to witness Alex's test.

Zain Low said, "I am delighted for Alex and it justify our faith in him too as we had announced Alex driving in our Malaysia Panoz Team for Malaysia's 1000km LeMans event in the Sepang Circuit in November 2001."

Other non-Japanese F3000 and F3 drivers who joined today's Formula Nippon Motegi test were Christian Albers of Holland, this year's Macau GP winner, Andre Couto of Macau, Briton Ben Collins and Germany's Alex Muller.

India's Narain Karthikeyan who won the Korean F3 Super Prix 2 weeks ago will also join the second day of the test tomorrow when he takes over from Motoyama in Team Impul.

Next year's Formula Nippon season looks like a boom year for Japan Race Promotion as nine foreign F3 and F3000 from outside Japan may very well take to the first race's start grid as compared to four foreign drivers this year.

Alex will not test tomorrow as ARTA vateran driver, J. Wakisaka will take over from him in the 21 car in Team LeMans to feed back comparison times to Alex.

Alex Yoong is sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports, fullflex RADIUS, KONICA, Malaysia Airlines, PanGlobal Insurance, TAG Heuer, Brylcreem, a.u., NeuroWeb Malaysia and LeMans Co. in the Racing for Malaysia project supported by Japan Race Promotion and MMOCA.

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Narain Karthikeyan , Alex Yoong , Ben Collins , Andre Couto , Alex Muller