This must be my most up to date column as the final leg of the 2017 Toyota Vios Cup is still running while I am writing this. Being the last of the four- leg series, all held at the Clark International Speedway, the drivers have taken a never-say-die attitude and no holds barred racing to the finish line.
Let’s get to the action right away and see who the best drivers are in the first batch of two races that’s happening today, Saturday, November 25, 2017.
The drivers had a dry qualifying round last Friday and in the Promotions Class, newcomer and sports car enthusiast Marc Soong took first place with a fantastic 2:27.898 time around the 4.9 km track. Following in 2nd place was Red Diwa of Toyota Isabela, who was only 0.096 of a second slower!
Clive Fermin of Team Cebu continued the team’s great success in round 3 by taking 3rd. Don Vic Portugal, Gel Napat, Bobby Pangilinan and celebrity driver Fabio Ide all made it within 1 second of Marc’s time and a sign of great racing to come.
For the Bridgestone Sporting Class, Tonton Ramos toke pole for Toyota San Fernando with a time of 2:26.896. AP Corse’s Jon Effinger followed in 2nd place with only 0.127 second behind. The crowd favorite Aira Medrano of Toyota Alabang did well with 2:27.307 for 3rd. Mark Sy, Rhaffy Latorre and Paulo Agregado all made it in 1 second behind the leader. It wasn’t a good time for Sean Velasco of Team Cebu and he only managed 7th place.
The Total Super Sporting Class was dominated by Cebuano Daniel Miranda with a very fast time of 2:24.073. His nearest rival was more than 0.7 second away and was 2016 Vios Cup Champion Allan Uy. Miko Maristela, Ramon Tanjuatco and Jette Calderon formed the top 5 but were more than a second behind.
There were 12 cars for the Super Sporting Class, 16 in Sporting and 21 in the Promotions/Celebrity Class. The first race had a wet track and the Promotion/Celebrity drivers had to hone their skills on it. The crowd was expecting exciting, trading-paint action throughout the race and the racers didn’t disappoint.
As soon as the cars got the green light, 2nd placer Red Diwa stalled on the start and everyone had to take drastic maneuvers to avoid colliding with him. Then on the tight right-hander, leader Marc Soong and hard charger Don Vic Portugal touched and made Soong spin out.
This blocked the path of Parts Pro Racing’s JJ Beredo, who came up from 13th place, and was bumped from behind and crashed into Portugal to make both Vios look like hatchbacks. Beredo would eventually retire but Portugal gallantly drove on with his damaged back end to finish in 3rd place.
Team Biskeg’s Gel Napat, who started in 5th, missed all the commotion upfront and escaped unhurt. He then drove flawlessly for his first win of the season. Marc Soong drove like a man possessed after the incident and salvaged 2nd place. It was very exciting to see all the bumping going as they made up positions in the end.
Vincent Courcol and Red Diwa made the top 5 after much harassment. The Celebrities had Fabio Ide taking 1st place and he was really up there against the regular drivers. Dominic Roque and Aubrey Miles were battling tooth and nail but eventually ended in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Fast and dry
The Sporting Class saw the rise of Celebrity driver Sam YG to the level of champions as he won this class in spectacular form. Sam was only in 9th place when he started and had to battle the top 8 to get to first place. His great dives and bumper-to-bumper moves were the highlights of the race!
Team Cebu was happy with Sean Velasco’s 2nd place as he was one of the favorites to win the race. Sam made a pass in the last few laps and Sean had no answer to his speed. Pole position Tonton Ramos had to settle for 3rd after the top 2 drivers had so much pace. Aira Midrano and Mark Sy rounded up the top 5.
Full speed ahead
The 2016 Champion Allan Uy had a lights to flag 1st place finish when pole sitter Daniel Miranda was penalized for an engine change. Allan still made the most out of his new car and team and never looked back and confirmed why he is still one of the best out there.
Miranda was the driver of the day when he drove from last place to get to 2nd place in the end. His fantastic moves saw his car a little more damaged than others with missing side view mirrors and loose bumpers but great to see this kind of passing! Miko Maristela, Gerard Loy and Keith Bryan Haw made up the top 5 and were all doing their own battles to the finish.
We will have the final batch of races next week and see who will be crowned the 2017 Toyota Vios Cup Champion!