Former Formula One ace Alex Yoong drew on all his experience to drive Team Malaysia into the top ten on the grid for the season-opening race of A1GP in the Netherlands this weekend.

A strong run in practice saw the squad running comfortably inside the top ten for the majority of the session and looking good for a strong qualifying effort. Although Yoong may have ended practice only 13th, that time was set on used tyres, and bolting on new rubber for qualifying allowed the ex-Minardi star to move back into the top ten.

"We had a bit of understeer this morning," the 30-year-old explained, "but we managed to scrape into the top ten. We had a bit of traffic on our last run and had to overtake two cars which cost us time. There's a few places where we were losing time and we'll look at this before the race. I think we have a good race car for tomorrow."

"The team has done a great job to get into the top ten for this first race," added Team Malaysia chief executive Jack Cunningham. "We haven't had the luxury of a rookie to do the system checks and preparation that other teams have done, as we do not yet have any young Malaysians eligible to take on these duties. We also had a new engine which required an installation programme and we had to devote most of our first practice session to this.

"Bearing in mind these factors, Alex and the team have done a great job and have made up this lost time. If we'd been able to do much of this work in the rookie session, we could have made further progress with the car development, but in the circumstances I congratulate Team Malaysia for their efforts. Tomorrow is the important day, when we need to turn this hard work into results and I know everyone will be focused on this goal."



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