The second day of the TGR Racing Festival started with dark clouds and light drizzles here and there (in the Klang Valley, at least), suggesting that the Vios Challenge races which are part of the event would have added drama if it rained. However, the skies cleared and then it got to be a sunny and hot day which mirrored the intensity of competition today for the second day of the second round of the one-make series.
If yesterday’s racing was calm and relatively uneventful, race 2 of the Vios Challenge brought out the fiercest competitive spirit in all the racers competing in the Promotional, Sporting and Super Sporting classes. There was no holding back as racers jostled for track positions and championship points ahead of what would be a 4-month break in the series before the next round in February next year at Batu Kawan, Penang.
SUPER SPORTING CLASS
You can always count on the professionals to put up a spectacular show and that was precisely what they gave race fans – right from the first two corners. Eager to get an edge ahead, the leaders rushed into the first turn and inevitably, contact occurred between the cars of Kegani Racing’s William Ho and Telagamas Toyota’s Freddie Ng. The impact must have been so great that Ho’s car overturned as it hit the barrier.
Fortunately, Ho was unhurt although his car was a wreck. The race was suspended for 30 minutes as officials and track crews worked to quickly remove the wreckage that was blocking the track and to repair the damaged barrier.
During the restart of the race, Ng, who started from second on the grid made a brilliant start to get ahead of pole position man Kenny Lee, with Brendan Paul Anthony in hot pursuit in third place. Lee however, piled on the pressure trying to find a way through and eventually forced Ng into making a costly mistake two laps later when he hit the concrete barrier, coincidentally at the very exact corner (turn 2) where there was the earlier incident.
The second incident brought out the Safety Car for 3 laps with Lee (car No 38 above) promoted into the lead, Brendan in second position, race 1’s winner Boy Wong in third position, Ser Meng Hui in fourth and Keifli Othman rounding up the top five positions.
“Ng had a better getaway during the restart but we actually rubbed each other’s side to side gently. But it was clean and he went past me in the first corner and I had to back off… he was defending hard and made a mistake hitting the wall and from then on, all over my rearview mirror was Brendan,” said the Kegani Racing driver.
The racers in the Sporting Class were not to be outdone and put on an equally nail-biting race. At the start of the race, Team Nanoplus driver Patrick Tam shot ahead of the field from pole position to lead the race from Distinctive Model’s Clement Yeo, Prodigy Racing’s 14-year-old Hayden Haikal, ST Wangan Racing Team’s Eric Yong, Kulim Top Wheels driver Dato Ken Foo and celebrity Mohd Shukri Yahaya in sixth position. Foo, race 1’s third place winner however, was handed a 10-second penalty for a false start offence and was eventually classified eighth despite finishing the race in fourth place.
As Tam (car No. 13 above) increased his pace at the head of the pack, Yeo had his hands full trying to fend off Hayden for six laps until the teenager made an attempt to pass him for second place resulting in contact. Yeo was prepared for the eventuality of contact and had taken the appropriate countermeasure but Hayden had the most to lose as he not only conceded track position to race 1’s winner Kenneth Koh but was later given a 10-second time penalty. Koh’s third place was however, short lived when he was called into the pit to repair a damaged rear bumper resulting from the earlier contact with Hayden.
An incident involving Adzeem Eqwan Adnan in the 6th lap brought out the Safety Car which circulated for 5 laps in front of the racers. When the race was back underway, Tam led from Yeo, with Yong in third place, Dannies Ng of Revo Technik Malaysia in fourth, Brendon Lim in fifth and Mohd Shukri crossing the finish line in sixth position.
“It was a good race and I would like to thank my entire team for a great result,” said Tam. For Yeo meanwhile, the result was an excellent way to end the weekend. “My earlier game plan was to get ahead into the first corner but Tam was even quicker. There was no point pushing too hard and it was best to pace myself to bring the car home safely to the end of the race,” he said.
The Promotional Class is the race that many of the spectators come for because the participants are celebrities. Prior to the season starting in August, they had received training at the Vios Academy to prepare them for competition in the identical Vios sedans.
Today saw singer Aiman Tino (car No. 77 above) collecting his first race victory and second consecutive podium finish over the weekend following yesterday’s third place finish. Although the 20-year old was placed third on the grid, he again repeated his remarkable start to lead the race into the first corner, with fellow singer Akim Ahmad in close pursuit and UMW Toyota Motor’s Deputy Chairman, Akio Takeyama in third.
In the chase and fourth place was race 1’s winner, television host and presenter Nabil Ahmad and actress Diana Danielle in fifth.
“Like yesterday, my focus has always been on trying to get a good start,” said Aiman. “I felt a lot of pressure with Akim, Takeyama and Nabil chasing me down but I was able to keep my cool and gradually extend my lead in the race.”
The top 5 positions remained unchanged for 3 laps until Takeyama was handed a 10-second penalty for a starting offence, and later involved in an incident when Nabil’s overtaking move sent him into the concrete barrier, bringing out the Safety Car. Nabil crossed the finish-line in third place but was subsequently given a 20-second penalty which dropped him to sixth. That promoted Diana into third place for her second podium finish.
“The result in race 2 was really unexpected because honestly, I wasn’t 100 percent focused in race 2 and I even struggled to make a good start. I really wanted to relax and take it easy but I almost panicked after seeing the incident between Nabil and Takeyama happen in front of me… I was lucky I managed to avoid hitting Takeyama’s car,” said Diana (car No. 15 below).
For Nabil, the incident with Takeyama was extremely embarassing, so much so he slowed down at turn 2 on the very next lap with the intent on apologizing, forgetting that there was still a race going on behind him! “I would just like to say very sorry to Takeyama as I may have pushed myself a little too hard in the haste of trying to get past him,” said Nabil, who was clearly distraught during the post-race conference.
Janna Nick finished fourth, Wany Hasrita crossed the finish line in fifth while Nabila Razali and Khai Bahar completed the 14-lap race in seventh and eighth positions respectively.
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