Toyota Vios Cup RD3 – too hot to handle

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MIKE POTENCIANO

(Part 1)
When you have 50+ drivers all wanting to win, then take out the series leader who is suffering from engine problems, throw in Mother Nature flooding the track and what do you get? You get a Toyota Vios Cup event that is too hot to handle!

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The penultimate one make series of Toyota was a round not to be taken lightly; a lot of bumping incidents, penalties and disqualifications happened along the way to the finish line. The rains fell during the 2nd batch of the Vios Cup races which stopped one race and resulted in more incidents in the other races. There was even a totally wrecked Vios Cup car in the end!

Let’s see how the 3rd round panned out and why the marshals and stewards had a hard time sorting out the mess.

Pre-event drama
After qualifying in first place the day before, Vios Cup series leader Daniel Miranda was everyone’s favorite to take easy wins on Sunday. However, Daniel complained that his engine had developed a misfire and the mechanics couldn’t find the cause. He was so frustrated that he could not repeat his dominant form in which he won all the previous 4 races. This inspired the other drivers that they could win or at least, be in the hunt for a podium finish.

Another great driver that was sorely missed was Andres Calma. He was nowhere to be found but his old team, GM Motorsport, was still there. Andres pulled out after an engine technical infringement at the end of the 2nd leg and the engine was made by GM. Andres will be airing his side of the story on why he pulled out of the series and will publish it here soon.

Welcome back
The good news is that Toyota Quezon Avenue is back with Celebrity driver Dominique Ochoa and Miko Maristela. Team Manager Franklin Lim was happy to be back even though they were missing the 2016 Toyota Vios Champion Allan Uy. They missed the racing atmosphere and they would love to take home some more trophies.

Another good news was that Champ Allan was back with a new team of his own and supported by friends like Angie Mead King. King is being mentored by Allan in the Ferrari Challenge series and she won her class in Sepang, Malaysia recently. Allan is being managed by Touring Car Champion Dennis Uy and we expect a lot from this team in the future.

There are more participants in this 3rd round, with 51 entrees taking part in 4 race classes. There are also more foreigners joining and is a healthy sign for the Vios Cup’s longevity. Another come backing motoring legend was Japanese Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya, who pushed the production Toyota 86 to its limits around the Clark track.

Bump cars
The first race of the Vios Cup was the combined Promotional and Celebrity classes. This had the biggest field with 23 cars on the grid. It was also the most popular for the fans since they see their idols in TV and online media take the wheel and race amongst each other.

Once the lights turned off, some racers jumped the start and they would be penalized with additional time after the race. The top 9 cars were all bunched up in the early laps and soon they all wanted to get in front at all cost. This meant that bumping each other out of the way was the norm and bumpers were flying off the cars.

Obengers’ Marc Soong, Toyota Team Bacoor’s Darrel Garbes and Parts Pro’s Roy Bunag got into their own battles and everyone complained that they were all bumped at one point in the race.

The top 4 drivers somehow survived the carnage and broke away from the pack. Willem Waltheer of GM Motor­sport took 1st place after a hard battle with 2nd placer Toyota San Fernando’s Arbie Jacinto and AP Corse’s Vincent Courcol in 3rd. Team Biskeg’s Gel Napat salvaged 4th place with Soong in 5th.

For the Celebrity Class, model Fabio Ide finally broke his duck and got 1st place over previous leg winner Dominic Roque. Actress Jasmin Curtis-Smith came in 3rd and showed her much improved form.

Next week, we will have the rest of the races including the wet Race 6. Godspeed!

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