After a year of absence, Toyota Toyota Vios Challenge returns to full racing mode. Noise and plenty of moisture filled the air over 40 units of identical race-specification Toyota Vios took to the North Track of the Sepang International Circuit measuring 2.7 km banded together by nine corners. Here are the results after two days of exciting races:
With 19 drivers on the grid, the Sporting Class was the most highly-anticipated race, and the return of the rain made conditions even more challenging for the drivers.
At the end of the 20-lap race, it was Crestmax Motorsport’s Adam Khalid who started second, took the chequered flag ahead of Team Distinctive Model’s Clement Yeo and privateer Eric Yong, all three of whom have been podium finishers in the previous seasons.
In Race 2, Haji Sutan Mustaffa Salihin took the chequered flag from nearly a lights-to-flag drive on a warm Sunday afternoon. He made a terrific start from second on the grid to take the lead into Turn 1 and pulled away to take the win with over five seconds ahead of Eric Yong and Race 1’s winner Adam Khalid.
SUPER SPORTING CLASS
Two-time Toyota Vios Challenge champion Tengku Djan wasted no time in putting up his title-defence plus aiming for his third after a delayed start due to a thunderstorm. A rolling start kicked things off for Season 4 of the Toyota Vios Challenge, led by Laser Motor’s Mark Darwin, followed by Hayden Haikal and Tengku Djan.
As track conditions improved, Hayden Haikal, last year’s Sporting Class champion now promoted to Super Sporting, seized the opportunity for a pass into the lead at Turn 2 of the third lap. He managed to hold on for the lead until a charging Syafiq Ali made a clean pass into the lead with 5 laps to go.
However, Tengku Djan, who now races with Penang’s Prima Pearl Auto, was just waiting for the right time and moment to pounce for the lead and thus made his move at Turn 1 of the final lap, while Syafiq Ali hitting the anchors a little too late and ran a wider line. He managed to keep ahead of Hayden Haikal to the chequered flag.
In Race 2, Tengku Djan who was at one time placed seventh, took full opportunity of the safety car’s presence that compacted the field and at lap 14, he made a stunning pass from fourth to first while Boy Wong, Syafiq Ali and Mark Darwin were trading places with each other.
“Racing is very much weather dependent, and there are so many variables at play such as the tyres. It’s a long 20-lap race and you have to be able to manage your tyres and car, knowing when to push and when to hold back. Maybe I just managed to do a better job of this,” said Tengku Djan.
You can rewatch all the excitement through Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia’s Youtube channel.
Another dominating performance was seen in Promotional Class, with Toyota Vios Challenge debutante Zizan Razak winning both Race 1 and Race 2.
Akio Takeyama, who is UMW Toyota Motor’s (UMWT) Chief Motorsport Officer, finished second in Race 1, ahead of the second 2021 Vios Challenge debutante Ahirine Ahirudin.
Starting the race from sixth position, TV presenter Ahirine kept her calm throughout the 18-lap race and benefitted from the misfortunes of Shukri Yahaya, Nabil Ahmad and singer-song writer Talitha Tan who started the race ahead of her.
In Race 2, a rather feisty Shukri Yahaya made contact with race leader Nabil Ahmad causing the latter to have a puncture on his front right tyre and ultimately parking his new Vios GR Sport on the grass at the end of Turn 5.
With three laps to go, Zizan Razak mounted his attack on Khai Bahar after two laps of analysis. The podium of Race 2 was completed by Ahirine in third again.
Four go-kart racers and two esport simulator champions make up the new Rookie Class in the 2021 Toyota Vios Challenge. After months of training and preparing plus enduring the cancellation of the race scheduled in January, the rookies were finally able to show what they can do.
Naquib Azlan, his first time in sedan car racing after countless racing-terabytes in the simulation world, proved to be the most difficult racer to beat. He started first in his class and won both Race 1 and Race 2, even tagging with Super Sporting class driver Kenny Lee in the closing stages.
The racing calendar for Season 4 of the Toyota Vios Challenge will include more races this year, up to a total of six rounds and a total of 11 races. The next championship round will be in July, but in between, the Toyota Vios Challenge Sprint Cup will also be featured in the Malaysia Super Series, enabling owners and team more exposure to racing.
It is unsure when fans will be able to physically attend the races to cheer for their favourite celebrities as well as listen to the gentler roar of the exhaust.