Martin (frentzen) wrote in formula1,

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Yoong back at the wheel of the Minardi - Nooooooo!

Minardi driver Alex Yoong returned to the cockpit at Monza on Wednesday after a 5 week lay-off and completed a successful programme, putting in over 70 laps of the Italian circuit.

Yoong was given a two-race break by Minardi following his failure to qualify three times this season, with BAR tester Anthony Davidson taking the Malaysian's race seat in Hungary and Belgium.

However, he will be back at the wheel for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix and this week's Monza test will give him a chance to get to grips with the high speed circuit ahead of the race.

"It's great to be back in the car." said Yoong, despite Wednesday's predominantly overcast and wet conditions.

"I am glad that my rest from racing and the training I had been maintaining during the last few weeks had proved beneficial for my test today. A problem free 74 laps in these conditions were rather useful and satisfying for me.

"There are so many things we want to try with the car, and I think this week's test session will give us a good chance to do just that. I'm sure there will be good progress over the four days of this test.

"Today went well and we did get some dry running in the end. With quite a bit of fuel on board, we did a reasonably good time. I'll be in the car again on Friday and will work specifically on qualifying runs."

Yoong's Wednesday time at Monza, though the slowest of the day, was only around 4.6% down on the benchmark set by Ralf Schumacher. This compares favourable to Yoong's 2001 Italian GP qualifying session, when he was 6.4% behind Juan Pablo Montoya's pole time.

Minardi's deputy technical director, Dr John Davis, was pleased with Yoong's and the team's progress, saying: "Today was productive for us. We've been carrying out fundamental system development work on areas such as traction control and launch control.

"A lot of work has also been done on the aerodynamic set-up of the car - we tried different aero levels, downforce and balance - and we learned some useful information in terms of fuel opportunities and tyre evaluation.

"Alex has done a lot of laps in the course of the day, and re-acquainted himself with his car and the circuit. It is all good preparation for the Italian Grand Prix."

Mark Webber will take over from Yoong on Thursday, before the Malaysian driver returns to the cockpit on Friday.
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