Shah Alam, 23 JULY 2022 – The pair of Eddie Liew and Putera Adam kept their cool in extremely wet conditions to win a rain-interrupted Race 1 of the GAZOO Racing Vios Sprint Cup held at the Sepang International Circuit.
The Laser Motor Racing duo finished the 1-hour race well clear of Prima Pearl TD Racing’s Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel and Mika Hakimi, while in third place was Telagamas Toyota’s Freddie Ang and James Liam Russell.
Laser Motor Racing’s Mark Darwin had led the opening stages of the race when he shot into the lead from fifth place on the grid, with team mate Liew in the second Laser Motor Racing car in close pursuit, followed by Toyotsu Racing’s William Ho and Axle Sports’ Hayden Haikal in third and fourth places respectively.
Darwin led for six laps but his lead never grew beyond 2 seconds and eventually relinquishing his position to Hayden in the seventh lap of the race. This position would remain unchanged even after Naquib Azlan took over from Hayden in car #17 and with a gap of more than 5 seconds, it appeared that the two young drivers were en route to another textbook finish.
Three laps or 7 minutes to the finish however, Naquib made a rare mistake when he came into contact with car #68’s Vincent Ng from Team Fokus. The coming together sent Ng spinning off the track while a puncture resulted in Naquib having to make an unscheduled pits top that essentially lost the team the race.
This promoted Putera Adam, who had taken over from Liew as the second driver, into the race lead.
“I was just trying to run my own race and do my best in the difficult wet conditions,” said Putera who set a blistering pace around the 5.543km Sepang International Circuit.
Naquib’s misfortunes also placed Tengku Djan Ley into podium contention after a sterling drive in the wet which saw him claw up the leader board from as far back as 12th place when he took over driving duties from Mika in the 10th lap of the race.
“We had a gearbox issue during the qualifying stint and maybe that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Mika started the race and he did a great job of holding the pace in his stint. I basically had to put it together, keep my calm and take it to the finish line. It was a great team effort,” said Tengku Djan.
“We had a better car for the conditions today and it was a question of trying to find the fastest line around the track to post the fastest time. The weather was a bit erratic. It was raining heavily in certain sections and it didn’t even rain in some sections. I was trying to keep my cool. I saw Putera gradually pulling away and I was trying to find a quicker line just to keep up with him. It was a good race overall.”
For the pair of Freddie Ang and James Liam Russell, the result was outstanding having started from sixth on the grid.
“It was my first time back racing and also my first time racing in the wet. I didn’t bother trying to fight the top two cars. In the first few laps I was well off the pace and I did my best to just try to follow them and learn my way around the track,” said Russell.
Held in conjunction with the Malaysia Championship Series, the GAZOO Racing Vios Sprint Cup is a one-make race involving two-driver teams competing in a one-hour race and vying for total prize monies amounting to RM60,000.
The GAZOO Racing Vios Sprint Cup is run independently of the Vios Challenge but it retains the format of a one-make series whereby competitors drive identical race-prepared Toyota Vios with stock standard engine & transmission, as well as suspension, tyres and fuel – to ensure that the emphasis is on race craft, driving skills and experience. Tomorrow’s Race 2 will see a reverse starting order.
Fans can catch the race action at the Sepang International Circuit (entrance to the grandstand is free), or tune in to the races that will be broadcast live on www.toyota.com.my and UMW Toyota’s Facebook page.
GR VIOS SPRINT CUP – RACE 1 RESULTS
1. Eddie Liew/Putera Adam – Laser Motor Racing
2. Mika Hakimi/Tengku Djan Ley – Prima Pearl TD Racing
3. Freddie Ang/James Liam Russell – Telagamas Toyota
4. Jwan Hii/Timothy Yeo – Axle Sports
5. Mark Darwin/Aiyub Alamghir – Laser Motor Racing