The season-ending Toyota Vios Cup proved to be a memorable one to the organizers and spectators as several incidents and changes occurred during practice and race day at the Mckinley West Circuit (formerly JUSMAG) in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
“The dream of bringing the motorsports festival much closer to the people has now become a reality! WAKU-DOKI has finally arrived here in Manila! This race is at the out-of-circuit track, making it a game-changer! Because of this new venue, our racers will have an equal chance of winning in the season-ending leg!” Toyota Motor Philippines president Michinobu Sugata said during the opening ceremony.
The very technical 1.8 kilometer street circuit was built with double Armco and catch fencing on all sides. It is also reinforced by concrete and steel barriers and was inspected and certified safe by the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Japan. The track has a total of eight turns and a main straight of 400 meters. According to race organizer and Tuason Racing School (TRS) head JP Tuason, “It took a week of 24-hour construction to build the world class track for the two-day event.”
Two cars nearly did not make it to qualifying, one of which was points’ leader Jason Choachuy’s race car due to technical problems. However, the Toyota Balintawak crew worked in full force and managed to prepare the car before Saturday’s qualifying time trials (QTT).
From a total of 21 cars battling for the title during the second leg held at the Clark International Speedway in Angeles, Pampanga, one driver decided not to run in the final leg while five new drivers joined including former karting champion Ramon Tanjuatco and Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito.
The 25 drivers were apart from the five celebrity drivers and three media drivers representing the past leg winners. Due to the increase in drivers and the narrow street circuit, the organizers decided to hold an eight-lap elimination race for the 25 drivers and get only the top 20 for the last two rounds running 20 laps each. At the same time, double points will be awarded during the last two rounds enabling the drivers more title chances.
Coming into the final leg, points leader Choachuy of Toyota Balintawak had a 26-point lead advantage. Behind him was North Edsa’s Luis Gono with 49 points and Allan Uy of Quezon Avenue who accumulated a total of 47 points.
After qualifying, Gono got pole postion with a time of 1:10.757 seconds followed by Uy’s teammate, actor Dominic Ochoa who set a time of 1:10.770 seconds. On third was Pauland Dumlao of Toyota San Fernando with a time of 1:10.933 seconds. Uy and Choachuy were at fifth and sixth positon respectively.
After the QTT, the eight-lap elimination race was held that wherein the 26 cars were divided into two groups (Bracket A and B) of 13 to determine the starting grid position for Race 5.
On Lap one coming into the first hairpin, Uy and Choachuy made contact which resulted in a flat tire for both drivers. Uy pitted in for tire change immediately while Choachuy stayed out for two more laps before having his tire changed. This caused the two drivers from not making it to the top 20 and thus, ending their titles hopes and landed on the consolation race which had no points to earn. Dumlao started Race five on P1.
Dumlao led the way after the start until he was hit by Ochoa and was relegated to second place. The red flag was waived twice due to some collisions. Ochoa made to the checkered flag ahead of Dumlao and Gono.
Due to the incident between Ochoa and Dumalo, the actor was made to start in P2 therefore giving Dumlao first place points in Race 5 and starting this race in pole position. On the first lap, Ochoa was hit by Dumlao sending him to the wall that resulted in a wrecked car that ended his championship hopes. The red flag was waived and after the restart it was again used two more times due to some heavy racing incidents that caused two or three more cars to retire from the race. In the end, the win was awarded to Dumlao, followed by Gono and Inaki Araneta of Toyota Alabang.
In the media category Paulo Subido of Top Gear Philippines swept both rounds creaming Vince Pornelos of Autoindustriya.com and Ira Panganiban of Autocar Philippines while Sam YG lorded it over Rhian Ramos, Phoemela Branda, and Jinno Rufino in the celebrity category.
The overall champion of the inaugural Vios Cup will be announced on Novemeber 10 at the awards night.
The 2014 Toyota Vios Cup was presented by Bridgestone, Rota Wheels, Motul, Denso, AVT and OMP. The event is sanctioned by the AAP.