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JULY 7, 2001

Yoong one step closer to Minardi drive

ALEXANDER YOONG went one step closer to a drive with the Minardi team on Friday as he completed a two-day test for them at the Mugello circuit in Italy.

Malaysian Yoong completed a total of 67 laps over the two days and impressed the Minardi outfit, particularly team chief Paul Stoddart, who could now be ready to replace Tarso Marques with Yoong.

"Alex has genuinely done an excellent job during this test," said Stoddart. "He has been cool as a cucumber throughout, has not made any mistakes, and has worked well with the team's engineers.

"I think all of the team personnel present in Mugello have both been pleased and impressed with Alex's approach to the job and his quick progress."

Yoong has been tipped to replace the under-fire Marques before the close of the season, but Stoddart is yet to confirm any driver change.

As for Yoong, he was pleased to acclimatize himself with a Formula One car as he bids to become the first Malaysian to compete in Grand Prix racing.

"It really has been an incredibly good experience," said Yoong. "The main thing from my point of view was to get to grips with the left foot braking.

"By the end of the day, I was feeling a lot more comfortable with it, although I was still being a bit cautious. There is certainly more to come."