KUALA TERENGGANU: Race 2 of the Toyota Vios Challenge saw many firsts, with 15-year old Hayden Haikal securing his first ever victory on a street circuit race in the Sporting Class, and Wany Hasrita and Nabila Razali took their first podium wins in the Promotional Class.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Festival is in its third edition this year, and the Round 1 Toyota Vios Challenge race was held at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium, Kuala Terengganu on a specially-designed 1.65km street circuit.
The start of the 22-lap race started quite dramatically with Shanmuganathan Arumugan from pole position being squeezed going into the first corner.
Wong Chin Eeg (Hiewa Racing Team) slipped into the lead and left enough space for Hayden (S&D Motorsports) and Datuk Kenneth Foo (Kulim Topwheels) at the second and third place respectively.
Hayden later took the chequered flag ahead of Wong and Kenneth Koh from Panglima City Racing.
“I’m extremely happy with the race win because Kuala Terengganu is a very challenging track. Frankly I don’t really enjoy this track because there’s hardly any opportunity to overtake here but thankfully everything fell into place today,” said Hayden.
Wong said, “Hayden was a lot quicker on the track and as soon as I made a mistake I saw him beside me. I then made the decision to back off and let him through. It would not have benefitted any of us had the two cars came together.”
Super Sporting Class
The race of the elite professional racers unfolded with all drivers posting competitive lap times within 1 minute 15 second to 1 minute 16 second range.
With the exception of Brendon Lim who dropped from fourth position on the grid to eighth place and Brendan Paul Anthony who fell one place, all the drivers in the class maintained their race positions throughout the whole 22-lap race.
William Ho (Toyotsu Racing) led from the start to finish, with Freddie Ang (Telegamas Toyota) taking second place some 1.93 seconds behind.
In third place was Kenny Lee from Kegani Racing.
Meanwhile in the Promotional Class, rain in the late afternoon made it an uneventful race with the race being delayed for 30 minutes.
The race resumed with safety car controlling the pace.
The wet conditions however turned out to be in favour of singer Wany Hasrita who stormed into her first ever race win. In second place was fellow singer Nabila Razali, also making her first appearance on the winners’ podium, followed by actor Shukri Yahaya in third position.
Wany commented, “The wet track conditions made the race twice as difficult but I did my best to keep my cool and to avoid making any mistakes. The track was slippery and that meant having to pick an earlier braking point into the corners.”
Nabila who displayed a calmer and composed drive said, “My driving and confidence level on the track has improved so much. I’m hoping to do much better this season.”
Meanwhile in the Race 1 on Friday, former champions Shawn Lee (Sporting Class) and Tengku Djan Ley (Super Sporting Class) made a strong comeback in the opening race. Shawn won the race ahead Shukri Yahaya, despite Shukri setting the fastest lap time in qualifying.
However according to Shawn, it was an exciting race right up to the end because Shukri managed to bridge the gap and gave a strong fight to him.
“It was a good fight with Shukri and I enjoyed every moment of it,” he said.
The elites in the Super Sporting class drove bumper-to-bumper but clean race from start to finish with Mark Darwin (Laser Motor Racing) winning the 22-lap race just half a second ahead of Tengku Djan Ley (23 Motors). In third place was Tedco Racing’s Bendon Lim.
“I had a good start from pole position and I managed to pull away slightly, enough to be comfortable. My tyres however, were badly worn five laps to the finish and I could see Tengku Djan catching up,” said Mark.
For Tengku Djan, the visit to podium underlines a great start to the season having won Season 1 and taking a break from Season 2.