20 March 2022 –
Day 2 of the Vios Challenge produced an exciting afternoon of close and hard fought battles on the track, an element that has traditionally defined the racing action in the series, as drivers in all 4 classes appeared to have warmed up to the start of Season 5 of the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival.
The action on the track in all four classes of racing, the Super Sporting Class for elite drivers; the Sporting Class for amateurs; the Rookie Class for young drivers; and the Promotional Class for celebrities was incredibly intense from start to finish and not short of incidents with the top contenders having to dig deep for a place on the podium. The door to door skirmishes had all the makings of a youth against experience battle for the remaining races to come in the season.
“The one-make format of the Vios Challenge, the increasing number of younger drivers, and the emphasis we have placed on the GAZOO Racing Young Driver Development Program has certainly been able to make a significant impact on the track. It levels the competition between the younger and more experienced drivers, rewards skill and race craft, and promotes an even higher quality of racing on the track,” said UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd President Ravindran K.
In the Super Sporting Class, veteran driver Eddie Liew got off to an incredible start from 4th position on the grid to lead the 20-lap race from start to finish. The battle for second and third was super intense with no less than five drivers in contention, providing a big enough distraction for Liew to extend his lead from 3 to as much as much as 10 seconds at one stage in the race. The Laser Motor Racing driver eventually took the chequered flag with a comfortable 5.58-second gap ahead of his nearest rival on the 2.7km half track at Sepang International Circuit.
The battle for second and third positions saw Race 1’s winner and Axle Motorsports driver Hayden Haikal, team mate Boy Wong, M7 Japan Project Team’s Fariqe Hairuman and Amer Harris, as well as 23 Motors’ Ady Rahimy and Distinctive Model’s Clement Yeo trading places lap after lap before contact on the track put all of them out of contention for a podium finish. These misfortunes promoted Prima Pearl TD Racing Team’s Mitchell Cheah to second and Telagamas Toyota’s Freddie Ang to third until the finish. It was also Ang’s second podium finish after completing yesterday’s Race 1 in second place.
“I got a very good start and pulled away. I just maintained a good pace at the front but I took notice of Cheah catching up,” said 48-year-old Liew who rounded off the weekend with a race win in Race 2 and a third place finish in Race 1. “Luck was certainly on my side today. Both Cheah and Ang are in fact very fast drivers.”
In the Rookie Class for young drivers, 18-year-old Sharique Zulqarinain rounded up his racing weekend with a double podium finish, with victory in Race 2 and a second place in Saturday’s Race 1.
Finishing second was 20-year-old Muizz Musyaffa. Securing third in both Race 2 and 1 was 19- year-old Muhammad Hamdany Abdul Hamid.
“I had a really bad start in Race 2 and I was honestly not filled with hope but throughout the race I remembered what my mechanics and dad had told me which was to just keep a cool head and have fun. I was just trying to set a consistent time on every lap and in the process I began overtaking the other competitors. From then on it was just a job of maintaining my pace,” said Sharique.
The Sporting Class also produced its fair share of drama on the track but at the end of the 20-lap race, it was Crestmax Motorsports Bradley Benedict Anthony who was declared race winner with Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh and 23 Motors’ Abdul Miqail in second and third places respectively.
Race 1’s winner Naquib Azlan of Axle Motorsports had won Race 2, but his hopes of a double rce victory weekend was shattered when he was later handed a 30-second penalty, effectively dropping him to seventh position overall.
“I started from fourth position, I paced myself and the incidents that occurred in front allowed me to take advantage of the situation. My main goal in every race has been to collect as much valuable points as I can with the overall championship in my sights,” said Bradley who also rounded off the weekend with a race victory in Race 2 and a third place finish in Race 1.
The battle of the celebrities in the Promotional Class saw actor Shukri Yahaya clinching victory, also his second visit to the podium following Race 1’s second place finish. Fellow actor Zizan Razak however, was the man to watch in the race as he clawed his way up from last place to finish second in the 18-lap race. Presenter Nabil Ahmad rounded up the top three podium finishers.
Both Shukri and Zizan are now level on championship points with both drivers producing identical results over the weekend – winning one race and finishing second place.
Starting from sixth on the grid, Zizan endured the misfortune of being spun around on the opening lap which dropped him to last place. His pace on the track however, was visibly quicker as he picked out the other drivers one at a time.
“I take racing very seriously. It’s something that has interested me since I was very young. As my entertainment career progressed it slowly allowed me to begin venturing into tracks days, taking up karting and even to the extent of competitively racing karts. It came to a point that I realized that one of my weaknesses was the limited time I had driving on the track and that was when I eventually invested in a simulator to practice,” said Zizan.
“This enabled me to improve on my braking and racing line, and I have been able to effectively apply all that I have learnt in the Vios Challenge…And when we have practice sessions conducted by Toyota to prepare for the series, I do my best to spend an entire day of driving to make sure I can achieve the lap times I am targeting for.”
Round 2 of the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival and Vios Challenge race series is scheduled for June and Toyota hopes that it will once again be able to safely invite the public, after two seasons of the event being held behind closed doors due to the pandemic.
For more information, log on to www.toyota.com.my or visit the Toyota Malaysia and Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia Facebook pages.
SEASON 5, ROUND 1, RACE 2 RESULTS
SUPER SPORTING CLASS
1. Eddie Liew – Laser Motor Racing
2. Mitchell Cheah – Prima Pearl TD Racing Team
3. Freddie Ang – Telagamas Toyota
1. Bradley Benedict Anthony – Crestmax Motorsport
2. Kenneth Koh – Panglima City Racing Team
3. Abdul Miqail – 23 Motors
1. Sharique Zulqarinain
2. Muizz Musyaffa
3. Muhammad Hamdany Abdul Hamid
1. Shukri Yahaya
2. Zizan Razak
3. Nabil Ahmad