Alex Yoong in the Team Malaysia A1 Grand Prix enjoyed a season's best qualifying and race results as the series raced at the Sentul circuit in Indonesia.

Yoong had previously raced at the track some time ago, so had a nominal advantage against those who had never seen the circuit before, but it was certainly an action-packed race day.

"I had a good feeling I'd do well here, and we just made the right decisions with the set up when we needed to," said the former Formula One driver. "As the weekend progressed it just got better and better."

Qualifying, after the two best times from the four sessions were added together, saw Yoong line up in sixth place for the rolling start race one. Come the end of this first race Yoong had moved forward two spots.

"After qualifying we knew the car was quick, but in the first race I had contact from the front and the back, yet we still managed to bring it home fourth," he explained.

Yoong had overtaken the car of Team Japan's Hayanari Shimoda at the start but he was later caught in the battle between Switzerland and Mexico, where the Malaysian car was knocked by the rivals, breaking the front wing. Despite this, Yoong maintained position as the race progressed, with Yoong hard on the heels of Switzerland. At mid-distance Yoong made a run on the Swiss driver, and in a copy-book overtaking manoeuvre, stole fourth. As the 18 lap race drew to a close Yoong kept ahead of his European rival and crossed the line in fourth place.

In the Feature race Yoong made the perfect start, leaping into third place initially and then claiming the second place spot, until it was snatched from him by Jos Verstappen in the Team Netherlands car. Yoong fought back as the race progressed, pitting for tyres during a safety car period which put him back down the order, but on course for a top five finish.

As the race drew to a close he sat in fifth place on the track, but with two cars ahead not having made their mandatory pit stops Yoong looked set for a third place finish, with the Verstappen and Team Canada's Sean McIntosh ahead. Not content with third, Yoong continued to push and when Verstappen ran wide onto the marbles, he took the chance to pass him and up into second place. In the final 10 laps Yoong maintained a strong race pace and crossed the line in the runners up spot.

"In the Feature race, the car was better, although it was hit three times," said Yoong. "The car was strong though, and the crew did a great job, so it was great to bring them and Malaysia a podium finish."

A1 Team Malaysia team principal, Jack Cunningham praised his driver's racing. "A fantastic weekend for A1 Team Malaysia. Alex drove superbly in some very tough races. In the Sprint race we tend to be slightly conservative so that we can finish, and in a good start position for the main race.

"That worked perfectly for us today. In the Feature race he drove very sensibly, very intelligently and at a great pace. I knew we had the ability to finish on the podium and now we've proved it."

 

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