19 March 2022 –
With years of karting and single-seater racing under his belt, 19-year-old Alister Yoong takes to track this weekend in his first ever saloon car race in the Vios Challenge racing series at Sepang International Circuit knowing precisely the challenge ahead and what he has to accomplish.
Despite being a newcomer to the series as well as touring cars, Alister’s credentials and the status of his national competition license would not allow him to compete as a novice driver and instead, he finds himself enrolled into the Super Sporting Class for professional and elite drivers.
“These guys are tremendous drivers. Hayden Haikal is a prosperous young talent, Mitchell Cheah is a WTCR driver, and Tengku Djan has some 30 years of experience and has won this championship on three occasions, and that’s just to name a few. I know how good they are and I look forward to trying to beat them,” said Alister who placed his Axle Motorsports Toyota Vios third fastest in Friday’s free practice session.
“I know I am on the back foot coming in at the very top class with everyone here being really good drivers, some probably the best in Malaysia, but a good driver should be able to adapt. I have been working very hard with the team in terms of the vehicle set-up and the data and I think it has gone well so far. I will of course be aiming for the win. As a racing driver you don’t turn up with the intention of taking anything less than a win. That’s my ultimate goal but obviously I have to first get some solid points and establish myself in the top five – that would be a pretty successful debut weekend.
“In the Vios Challenge everyone has the same piece of machinery. I have a close working relationship with my team, my race engineer and my team mates, and they have been extremely instrumental in helping me prepare for this race weekend. I have a good package, I have good people around me and I see no reason why I can’t have a successful race weekend.”
Being the son Alex Yoong, an ex-Formula 1 driver and someone who has accomplished so much in international GT and touring car racing, Alister is very much composed and definitely his own man when it comes to racing.
“Of course there is some pressure being the son of Alexander Yoong, but it’s more of choice of whether I will let it affect me in terms of results, or we can just forget about it and get on with the job. I’m here to perform well, I am here for myself.”
And what would be a typical race weekend be like for both father and son?
“At the track we’ve always said that we’re not family – we’re not even friends. There is no time or point being lovey dovey and trying to make each other feel good if it’s going to affect the result. We’re here for results, to do well, to push and do our jobs and that’s exactly what we’ll do. At the track he’s not really my dad but he’s my team manager and coach, someone to talk too if I find it will help me and that’s the kind of dynamics of our race weekend.”
Racing fans and enthusiasts can catch the weekend’s Vios Challenge action streamed live on the UMW Toyota Motor (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd website at www.toyota.com.my and on the Toyota Malaysia and Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia Facebook pages. For more information, kindly log on to www.toyota.com.my.