Toyota Vios Cup Round 3 – Too hot to handle

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MIKE POTENCIANO

(Conclusion)
The 3rd round of the Toyota Vios Cup at Clark International Speedway last September 16, was very exciting with all the bumping and trading paint going on. Mother Nature also threw in her share by flooding the track right in the middle of a race that had the organizers raise the red flag to stop it.

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There were a lot of penalties that were given and made the race results all provisional. A lot of frayed nerves and heated discussions also ensued to make this Vios Cup round too hot to handle. Here is some of the final races’ action that we didn’t have space for last week.

Sporting no more
The 2nd race was the Bridgestone Sporting Class Race 5, where more problems erupted. Their biggest victim was race winner Sean Velasco of Toyota Team Cebu, who we already interviewed after the race for his hard fought win.

Sean then went to the scrutinizing area and was found to have his cell phone in his suit. The rules prohibit any communication device within the car. 4th placer and Parts Pro Racing Team driver Paul Perez also had his cell phone with him and both drivers were disqualified.

Both said that they forgot to leave it behind before they raced and it was an honest mistake. Nevertheless, they were both removed from the race standings and worst, they had to start at the back of the pack for Race 6!

Team Alabang lady Driver Aira Midrano, who started in 3rd place, was bumped out of the way by Team San Pablo’s Raffy Latorre and both had a lot of near collisions after. The biggest accident was between Senator JV Ejercito and GM Autosport Paul Lomax, which led to their cars not finishing the race.

Team San Pablo Mark Sy inherited 1st place after the DQs, followed by Pao Agregado of the Obengers Team and Aira salvaging 3rd. Latorre took 4th and Team Cebu’s Oscar Suarez got 5th.

Lucky few
The premier Total Excellium Super Sporting Class saw a new winner for the first time in 5 races. Team Quezon Avenue came back after missing the last race and won the race with celebrity driver Dominic Ochoa working hard for it.

Ochoa had started down the field and avoided bumping incidents in the race especially with Obengers’ Keith Bryan Haw and the rest of the field in front. Haw even had a big moment taking the rallycross route in the dirt when cars touched in the second turn.

Team Cebu managed to squeeze into 2nd with Jette Calderon, Haw taking 3rd, AP Corse’s Ramon Tanjuatco 4th and Team Biskeg’s Gerard Loy 5th. There was bad blood between the top 5 drivers as they were all involved in incidents. Obviously, the organizers will have to sort out the problem in the official results soon.

Raining cats and dogs
Right before the start of Race 6 for the Promotional/Celebrity class, very dark clouds were fast approaching. The worst part was the marshals took a long time rearranging the cars for their proper grid positions. So when the cars took off, we were all counting the laps before the rains fell, and it really came down hard after 6 laps!

The reversed grid position saw Toyota Bacoor’s Roy Bunag in front and he managed to save that place till the race was given the red flag after 8 of the 12 laps scheduled. New drivers AP Corse’s Vincent Courcol took his best place ever with 2nd place and Obengers’ Marc Soong also breaking into 3rd place. These 2 were the happiest of the lot and they really showed how ecstatic they were!

For the Celebrities, Dominic Roque dominated the class ahead of Fabio Ide and Troy Montero. The 3 lovely ladies-Gretchen Ho, Aubrey Miles and Jasmin Curtis Smith-all had their great battles and finished accordingly.

Team Cebu’s Brian Currie had the biggest accident during the race when he lost the car in the flooded track and completely wrecked the front and rear of his Vios. This also made the race marshals decide to stop the race.

Zero to hero
With the DQ, Sean Velasco didn’t really want to race in Race 6 of the Bridgestone Sporting Class. However, he wanted to prove to himself and his family that he deserved the win even in those treacherous conditions.

From 11th place, Sean battled his way to 1st place in the very wet track. It was such a great finish that his Team Cebu celebrated their first top three win in the series with Lord Seno and Oscar Suarez taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. Suarez led most of the way in the wet until the faster Velasco and Seno caught up and he let them pass. Pao Agregado salvaged 4th place and almost took a podium place but ran out of laps. Mark Sy and Raffy Latorre were then following closely behind.

Team Cebu really celebrated after this historic win and team manager John Velasco told us that they really worked hard after a dismal 2nd leg. They changed their suspension, practiced in the rain and perfected their set up as they assumed it would be raining that weekend. Their hard work really paid off with a fantastic race result!

Rain master
The track was still wet when the premiere Super Sporting drivers took to the track. There was so much dicing and it was hard to see with light also fading. In the end, it was Jette Calderon of Cebu taking the top spot and confirmed his mastery of the wet track. However, Jette had a technical infringement during scrutiny and was taken out of the standings.

Dominic Ochoa had to work hard to climb from the reversed grid and miss all the accidents happening on the way. Ochoa took 2nd in the race but was moved up after Jette was disqualified.

Keith Haw was leading all the way and was poised to take it when on the last lap, he spun out by himself in the first turn and dropped to 3rd. A very unlucky move but I’m sure will give him a lesson in the future. Completing the top 5 was Gerald Loy and Ramon Tanjuatco.

One more round to go and its getting tight up there with Daniel Miranda not doing well in this round. We hope to bring the race highlights of leg 4 and Godspeed to all!

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