With the final two rounds of the Toyota Vios Cup held at the Clark International Speedway, the 60 plus drivers were all excited to get down to business and see who would take home the overall trophy. No one wanted to be in 2nd place and it really showed right from the start!
The competition was no longer a gentleman’s race but it became rough and exciting for the people to watch. However, the race winner wasn’t decided on the track but after the race. Let’s review the final 2 rounds and trace how it all ended.
Last two minutes
The first race of the third round of the Super Sporting Class was immediately stopped after a huge accident involving the top qualifier Estefano Rivera, the fast Daniel Miranda and the luckless Bryan Co. When the red lights turned off, Rivera had a bad start and was engulfed by the field. Miranda saw an opportunity to close the inner lane and was trying to squeeze out Rivera before the first turn. However, Rivera had no more room on the track as other cars were already there. The two cars collided and took out Co who was just minding his race.
The three cars were terminally wrecked and the race had to be red flagged while the officials cleaned up the mess. At the restart, the cool and fast Carlos Loinaz put on a fantastic display of driving and raced from the middle of the field to take firstt place. Definitely, Loinaz was the driver of the day! Championship leader Andres Calma played it safe and took second place, with Basti Escalante taking third.
In the last race, the limelight shifted to Cebuano Jette Calderon, who finally got up the top step of the podium when he drove from a low grid position to the top spot. Calma again put in a very calculated drive and took second again to solidify his lead in the series. With over 62 points ahead of Allan Uy, who suffered from a misfiring engine, Calma was almost assured of the championship going to the final leg. Escalante came in third again and slowly moved up the standings. Uy had zero points for this weekend and wasn’t looking good for the championship.
Young guns conquered
In the Sporting Class, Cebu Team won again through the effort of Miguel Diaz with second and first places. Gerard Loy finally gave his team something to cheer about with first and third places, respectively. Only Miko Maristela and veteran Robert Lilles got to join them in separate podium finishes.
The Promotions class became the territory of lady driver Aira Medrano, who won first and second places in both races. Her fans were all rowdy and she was now in contention to win her biggest award after moving up from karting. Oliver Matias did the same record and shared the momentum with her. The overall class leader Marc Martinez had a dismal weekend and could only finish fourth and fifth after much bumping and crashing.
The final Vios Cup weekend, held last November 12, had Andres Calma all set to win the championship and he was playing it safe. This opened the door for Allan Uy and Estefano Rivera to exploit the race to its maximum. The Toyota Quezon Ave driver Uy went all out from the start and took first place after a hard climb up the leader board.
What was not seen was the great drive of Rivera up the 16-man field. He had to start at the back after being penalized for using a different car in the last race of round 3. Estefano’s race craft and great overtaking maneuvers moved him into second place in the end and was very close to Uy at the checkered flag. It was definitely the best drive of the day! Bryan Co finally came up with a great finish and ended in third place with Daniel Miranda fourth and Dominic Ochoa fifth.
Calma fell back to sixth place and was being bullied by the field in every lap. He couldn’t afford to finish in seventh place if Uy won the final race. This set the tense situation in the final race with Uy beaming with confidence after a superb win. The great final showdown never materialized though, when Uy’s car slowed a lot with the additional winner’s weight penalty and finished a sorry eighth place.
Estefano capitalized on this and won the final race in dominating fashion. He even slowed down in the end to lead Miranda, Escalante, Loinaz and Calma to the finish line. Calma’s fifth place was enough for him to be the provisional winner of the series until the final scrutinizing of the cars.
The Bridgestone Sporting Class saw Gerard Loy winning the first race and veteran Steve Bicknell winning the other. It wasn’t as easy as it seemed as there were a lot of bumping going on between the cars. Celebrity driver Sam YG was actually leading the first race but was bumped out of contention by Mark Sy twice. Sam was awarded second place after penalties were given out and Sy fell to third. These were also the same positions they finished in the last race.
What the Sporting drivers didn’t know was that class leaders Miko Maristela, Sean Velasco and Miguel Diaz were all busy with their own incidents. They all made bad mistakes that made them finish way down the field. In the end, they all got shocked when Steve Bicknell won the Sporting Class overall win with Loy in second and Maristela salvaging third.
Start of heartbreaks
The Promotions Class was ready to celebrate the win of Aira Nedrano if she could only finish the last two races in the top 10. With Aira posting first place in qualifying, the whole paddock was expecting to celebrate early. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on her side and she was the first one taken out of Race 1.
After a bad start that lost her about three places, Aira saw an opening in the technical part of the track and tried to dive into a slower car. The car closed the gap and she had to go off the road and lost control. She hit the concrete barriers and flipped the car in the air and ended on its wheels. She was ok but the car was definitely in a sorry state.
This gave Kiko Dysico and Arbie Jacinto a win each in the final two rounds. The other places were all filled with newbies and they were Red Diwa, Willem Waltheer, Oliver Matias, Oscar Suarez and come backing Evelyn Coseteng.
In the end, it was Dysico who the overall win, with Marc Martinez second and Medrano falling to third. A very sad and dejected Medrano vowed to race again next year.
After the awarding of the provisional winners in the grand celebrations, the mechanics and officials were busy removing the engines from the top winners of each class. Late into the night, there were at least 2 cars that were deemed to have technical infractions and were disqualified.
One of them was the car of Andres Calma. He never knew what the problem was in his engine and he was only given the job to drive it and win. This he did well but in the end, it was not meant to be. His points were stripped in the final race and 50 percent in the other rounds. Calma showed great character though when he went to the final awarding last Thursday and was congratulating the winners.
The rightful winner of the 2016 Toyota Vios Cup belonged to TQA driver Allan Uy, who was the bridesmaid to Calma last year. Allan, who started karting for our MP Turbo Team back in the 90’s, felt vindicated by the above findings and was finally given the award he deserved.
Second overall went to the luckless but fast Estefano Rivera, then Basti Escalante, celebrity Dominic Ochoa and Daniel Miranda. The whole community was shocked at this turn of events and it will be a series to remember.
I hope that Toyota will continue the series as we can see that motor sports is really benefiting from it along with a new crop of great drivers. We eagerly wait for the announcement and hope it will come soon. Godspeed!