Last weekend, the Toyota Vios Challenge race was held during the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival at Stadium Batu Kawan in Penang. Round 3 of the Vios Challenge at Batu Kawan is the penultimate race for Season 3 and it did not disappoint with plenty of thrills for the crowd.
Super Sporting Class
In Race 1 of the Super Sporting class for professional racers, 23 Motors’ Tengku Djan led the race from pole to chequered flag, finishing five seconds clear of Laser Motor Racing’s Mark Darwin and Dream Chaser’s Brendan Paul Anthony.
Kegani Racing’s Kenny Lee was running second at the start behind Djan before he clipped the wall on Lap 9 and ended his charge. This brought out the safety car for four laps and erased Djan’s lead, and also promoted Mark and Brendan into second and third positions respectively.
In Race 2 on the second day of the challenge, Team Telagamas Toyota driver, Freddie Ang emerged victorious, beating Toyotsu’s William Ho as well as defending class champion Boy Wong.
Freddie had a terrific start and led the 22-lap race to the finish, with William running close behind but never had the opportunity to overtake. Ho also decided to not take unnecessary risks and settle for second spot to take the fight for the championship into the next round. Freddie is currently third in the overall point standings and is still in the fight for the overall championship with two races (Round 4) remaining in the season.
Tengku Djan did not have a good race on the second day as he made contact with a barrier and damaged his rear right wheel forcing him to pit and putting him two laps down.
On the first day, Mirza Syahmi Mahzan of Aylezo Motorsports started the 22-lap race from pole, ahead of S&D Motorsports’ Hayden Haikal, Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh and Crestmax Motorsports’ Adam Khalid. However, a mistake on Lap 5 put Mirza in the wall and gave 16-year-old Hayden the lead.
Hayden consolidates his position at the top of the overall standings in the Sporting class, a category for amateur racers. “My aim is to finish in the points and honestly I am not really thinking of the overall championship,” he said.
In Race 2, S&D Tama Motorsports’ Tom Goh started at the front with Dream Chaser’s Bradley Benedict Anthony, Crestmax Motorsports’ Adam Khalid, SMS Motorsports’ Haji Sutan Mustaffa Salihin and Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh chasing.
The race however, was stopped in the second lap after a 6-car pile-up. Four cars were out of the race at the safety car restart as Tom continued his dominant drive and built a gap of over two seconds as Haji Sutan and Bradley Benedict were busy battling for second place. Bradley eventually passed Haji Sutan on Lap 9 and began hunting down Tom.
The safety car was deployed again when Shanmuganathan Arumugam spun his car, and this allowed Bradley to close in on Tom. With two laps to go, after the safety car exited the track, Bradley mounted a last minute challenge which put him in the lead two corners from the chequered flag to claim his first race victory of the season.
Race 1 started under a safety car due to rain but Shawn Lee quickly got on the pace to lead from start to finish. TV presenter Nabil Ahmad and actor Shukri Yahaya finished in second and third respectively. Singer Nabila Razali finished fourth, the fastest of the female celebrity drivers, ahead of fellow singer Wany Hasrita and actress Janna Nick in sixth.
In Race 2, Shukri Yahaya, Nabil Ahmad and Shawn Lee again made up the top three positions in an equally exciting 20-lap race. Shukri was the biggest gainer at the start, jumping from fourth on the grid to second place, passing singers Nabila Razali and Wany Hasrita who were caught off-guard. Actress Janna Nick made the most of her pole position to lead the race for two laps before having to yield to Shukri who was clearly running a faster pace.
By Lap 4, Nabil too made a move to claim second from Janna who by then had to fend off a further challenge from Shawn. Janna defended well and put up her best driving yet this season but slight contact with Shawn four laps from the finish line spun her around into oncoming traffic. Actress Diana Danielle and Nabila managed to avoid hitting Janna’s car but actor Syafiq Kyle drove straight into her.
“I wasn’t expecting to win but I pounced on the opportunity when Wany and Nabila made a slow start,” said Shukri. “It was my first win this season and I’m really pleased with that.”
For fans in Penang, the excitement of the TGR Festival included the display and test drive of Toyota’s fleet of new vehicles, a drift performance by Japanese drifters courtesy of Toyo Tires, a racing simulator challenge, stage games, celebrity performances, promotional activities, lucky draws, the sale of merchandise, and a Super Fans Signing Session for a chance to mingle with the celebrities racing in the Promotional class.
Other attractions included a morning fun run, zumba fitness session, a fleet of motorcycles and merchandise on display and sale by Harley Davidson and Moto Guzzi, a Beyblade competition, the sale of Hot Wheels die cast models, a concert by popular local band Hujan, and a display by the Art of Speed.
As an added bonus, all vehicles purchased during the two-day event also came with a RM200 complimentary service voucher.
The final round of the Vios Challenge is scheduled for April 2020 at the Sepang International Circuit.