• THE ‘WAKU-DOKI’ EXPERIENCE

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    Celebrity racers Aljur Abrenica (second from left, front row), Jinno Rufino (third from left, back row), Phoemela Baranda (seventh from left, back row), Fabio Ide (ninth from left, back row) and Rhian Ramos (12th from left, front row) ham it up with Toyota Motor Phils. Senior Vice President for Marketing Ariel Arias (left) and President Michinobu Sugata (sixth from left, front row), as well as the participants representing various media organizations.

    Celebrity racers Aljur Abrenica (second from left, front row), Jinno Rufino (third from left, back row), Phoemela Baranda (seventh from left, back row), Fabio Ide (ninth from left, back row) and Rhian Ramos (12th from left, front row) ham it up with Toyota Motor Phils. Senior Vice President for Marketing Ariel Arias (left) and President Michinobu Sugata (sixth from left, front row), as well as the participants representing various media organizations.

    TOYOTA Motor Phils. (TMP) proved it could deliver “Waku-Doki,” or heart-pounding excitement, as it launched the Vios Cup on January 25 through an exhibition race and daylong speed festival at the Clark International Speedway.

    The Vios Cup—whose exhibition race saw five celebrities and seven media personalities—was rescheduled from October last year after Typhoon Santi hammered Luzon the night before the first scheduled races were to be held. But for the event’s second attempt, nothing went wrong.

    The sun was up, and despite the cold and breezy morning air, spectators coming from the provinces and Metro Manila trooped to the racetrack to see the start of the one-make race series that’s designed for the new Toyota Vios—launched in July last year. They were also there to support their favorite celebrity racers who have joined the exhibition.

    Star power
    The celebrities who joined the event were Aljur Abrenica, Phoemela Baranda, Fabio Ide, Rhian Ramos and Jinno Rufino. Only two of the five celebrities have previously joined similar racing events.

    Baranda, who started from pole position in the first of the two scheduled 15-lap races, topped the other celebrities at the end of the two races. Following her were Rufino and Ide in second and third positions.

    For Abrenica and Ramos, the experience gained from racing was enough.

    Abrenica, during the series of practices leading to the event, had a tight schedule between work and play, and so missed some of the sessions. For her part, Ramos, who had the same problem, only learned how to use a stick shift during the course of the training.

    But even if Ramos was trailing the race, her supporters kept on cheering for her as they waved their banners to show the actress that they were backing her.

    Pen power
    In the media division, Vince Pornelos of AutoIndustriya.com took first place, with Jeff Reyes of Top Gear Phils. coming in second and James Deakin of Philippine Star placing third.

    Reyes could have won the second race after starting from second spot, but pole-sitter Pornelos took a risk and dived at Reyes’s left at the first turn, with barely three laps to go before the checkered flag.

    Smashing excitement
    Unintentionally, the drivers provided an exhilarating show for the spectators with some crashes on the track.

    During the second race, Ramos’s car suffered damage on the right front fender and bumper after making contact with Rufino’s Vios. Abrenica also hit the tire wall after spinning off at the last lap of the second race.

    But then, this only adds to the heart-pounding excitement.

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