• 2017 Toyota Vios Cup: Keeping up the spirit!

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    MIKE POTENCIANO

    (Conclusion)
    “With great power comes great responsibility!” This saying has been used and heard a lot of times and the one that I remember well was when the wise Uncle Ben Parker said it in the movie Spiderman.

    It is also very fitting for the inside stories I have unearthed in the 2nd round of the 2017 Toyota Vios Cup. Here are just some of them and let’s start with the champion team and driver.

    Parting of ways
    Last year’s winners, Toyota Quezon Avenue and Allan Uy, were nowhere to be seen last June. After winning 2nd place in the first round, they were looking like they were on their way to defend it this year. I wasn’t the only one who was shocked as most of the fans that were following them were all disappointed at their MIA-Missing In Action-status.

    After talking to Allan and TQA’s Franklin Lim, both had confirmed that they had parted ways after the first round. This practice is common in racing but somehow I didn’t expect this from the champions early on, especially after a great start.

    There are a lot of stories going around as to what happened but both were civil enough not to complicate matters. They decided to move their separate ways from now on with Allan looking for a ride to defend his title. Franklin plans to come back in the next round with Celebrity racer Dominic Ochoa leading the team.

    Collateral damage
    Talking about Papa Doms (as he is affectionately called by insiders in the entertainment industry), he also stopped racing as he was part of TQA and a friend of Allan. It’s hard to be caught in the middle but we heard that he will come back to TQA, the original team that has sponsored him from the start. Everything had been sorted out and hopefully, will be water under the bridge for the rest of the season.

    However, one of the big problems that is coming out of this 4th season of the Vios Cup is how expensive it is for the dealers to keep a team. With all the accidents and bumping going on, the cost of repairing and maintaining these race cars are becoming way too costly even for a big team like TQA. Maybe the decision of keeping all races in Clark will help lessen the number of incidents and keep the teams in the chase.

    2x sorry
    Another story that has just come out after the 2nd round is the disqualification of GM Motorsports’ Andres Calma. The engine of Calma had been found to be not compliant with the rules set forth by the organizers and was taken out of the standings in the last race.

    The sad thing was he was also set to win last year’s Cup but had some technical problems. This 2nd problem was another blow to a very good racing career that started in karting and was blooming into the top niche of production racing.

    I believe that Calma has the skills that can take him there as long as he is given the right equipment. He might not be aware of what’s happening in his engine but someone will have to answer for this. It is not good to have your hard earned points taken away that are not of your doing.

    Lessons learned
    I remember during the 90’s World Rally Championship, the Toyota Team was caught using a restrictor that allowed extra air into their turbochargers. The whole team pulled out of the championship and the drivers never knew that they were running engines that were not legal. Toyota management also didn’t condone this and they punished the ones involved and stayed out of rallying and other forms of racing.

    It is only this year that Toyota has come back into WRC with the Yaris and is doing well in their first year. Toyota has also come back earlier into racing with the World Endurance Racing such as the Le Mans 24 hours which they almost won last year. They are in full force in the US NASCAR series, Australia’s V8 Supercar and a lot more international series.

    With Toyota’s Gazoo Racing coming to the country, I think Toyota has learned its lessons. Gazoo knows that racing is really the best way to get the young crowd’s attention and that Toyota will have to make exciting models to keep them loyal to the brand.

    Thus, Toyota’s world leadership status in automotive has brought them more responsibilities. I am happy that Toyota is now responding in a way that is keeping the racing spirit alive globally and in our small community as well. I just hope that our local teams and drivers see the light and keep the torch alive as well. Godspeed and long live racing!

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