Yoong has difficult Motegi test

Former British Formula 3 and FIA F3000 driver Alex Yoong had a mixed test session in his first appearance in the Team Malaysia Formula Nippon car

Yoong has difficult Motegi test

The series for cars built to 'old' European F3000 rules held an official test over two days last week, at the Motegi Twin Ring circuit that hosts a round of the CART championship.

Fastest was ex-Tyrrell and Arrows F1 driver Tora Takagi who took his Reynard 2KL around the circuit in 1m34.491.

Yoong dialled himself in gradually, and improved his time by over two seconds from the first day to the second. Sadly, it was not enough to lift him above 17th of the 20 drivers.

The director of Team Malaysia, a satellite operation of the successful LeMans Company outfit, remained confident that Yoong can succeed.

"We must not forget that most of the drivers this year have been racing Formula Nippon for many years and they are all very familiar with the Motegi Circuit," said K. Homma. "It takes time for a rookie to find the pace of the top cars but I'm confident that Alex will be in the top 10 by the second race."

Malaysia's sponsorship of Yoong in Formula Nippon marks the country's increased interest in international motorsport, boosted by the country's F1 Grand Prix.

Yoong now becomes one of two Malaysians in top line, F3000-level motorsport, after Ananda Mikola signed for the WRT team in FIA F3000.

Yoong was confident that he can improve. "I definitely have another second in my driving and I'll find that limit very soon. The car can also be improved further in terms of its set-up and there's another second to be found there."

The first race of the Formula Nippon season will be at Suzuka on the 16th of April.

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