It was a case of new racecars but the same faces dominating the podiums again as Race 1 of Season 3 of the Toyota Vios Challenge got underway in sunny Kuala Terengganu. It wasn’t all business as usual though with a first-time winner in the Promotional class as rain wreaked havoc on the last race of the day.
Following a year’s hiatus, inaugural Super Sporting class champion Tengku Djan Ley returns to the Vios Challenge in Season 3 and picks up where he left off with a solid performance to assert dominance with a new team.
Once again, the race was held on a specially-constructed 1.65km street circuit in the grounds of the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.
Promotional – Race 1
After spending Season 2 dicing it out with the amateur drivers in the Sporting class and giving most of them a run for their money, Shawn and actor Shukri Yahaya made a return to the Promotional class for Season 3 and dominated the field as Shawn won and Shukri came in second.
“It was an exciting race right up to the end because Shukri managed to bridge the gap and that got me a little concerned on whether he was close enough to attempt to overtake. At the same time I was trying to remain calm and not make any mistakes that could have cost me the race two laps from the end,” said Shawn.
Despite starting on pole, Shukri lost out to a lightning start from Shawn that saw him edge into first on the dash to the first corner.
Defending class champ Diana Danielle came in third some 37 seconds behind after Nabil Ahmad clipped the concrete barrier and retired. Following Nabil into retirement were Syafiq Kyle while Khai Bahar, Nabila Razali, Wany Hasrita, Janna Nick and Ain Edruce finished fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.
Sporting – Race 1
Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh took the chequered flag ahead of Team Distinctive Model’s Clement Yeo and Kulim Topwheels’ Datuk Ken Foo who came in second and third respectively.
All three drivers finished in the exact same positions they started on the grid although it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way. A red-flag three laps from the finish was called after Team Fokus Tetap’s Lim Chun Beng took on the concrete barrier. Brushing it resulted in a damaged front right fender that delaminated the tyre and pulled him hard into the barrier, taking out the front right suspension and leaving the car stranded in a precarious position on track.
Super Sporting – Race 1
It was as good a comeback as he could’ve hoped for with a second spot for Tengku Djan with his new team; 23 Motors. Starting in second on the grid behind Mark Darwin, Djan was on the pole-sitter’s taillights the entire race and finished just half a second behind after 22-laps. In third 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.
“The biggest difference this season is that the top 9 cars are all within a second of the fastest qualifying time. Everyone is super competitive this year. The race was good, I had a good car but the track was super tight to be able to make a clean move so I decided to keep my position and finish the race,” said Tengku Djan.
“The most challenging about the race is to be on point every lap, every corner and to not make any mistake because if you do, everyone else will just capitalize on that mistake because we are all driving identical cars. It is not an easy task to do drive in these conditions for 22 laps. There is just no room for error,” he added.
Promotional – Race 2
As the last race of Day 2, the start was delayed by 30 minutes before resuming behind the safety car for a few laps. Although the rain was a real wet blanket in closing the day, you wouldn’t hear any complaints from singer Wany Hasrita as the reverse grid saw her starting on pole and defending her position to take her first ever win. Coming in second was fellow singer Nabila Razali, also making her first appearance on the winners’ podium, followed by actor Shukri Yahaya in third.
Sporting – Race 2
It was the future of local racing that eased to victory in Race 2 of the Sporting class. 15-year old Hayden Haikal took his maiden win in street racing following consistently strong showings in the class last year after the switch from karting.
“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.
Kuala Terengganu is a bittersweet venue for the teen as he made his debut here last season; starting ninth and finishing in the same spot in his first ever saloon race.
Hiewa Racing Team’s Wong Chin Eeg and Panglima City Racing’s Kenneth Koh came in second and third respectively.
The 22-lap race started rather dramatically with pole position man Shanmuganathan Arumugan was squeezed out of contention going into the first corner. Wong made an exceptional start from second on the grid to punch a hole in the traffic to slip into the lead, leaving enough space for Hayden and Kulim Topwheels driver Datuk Ken Foo to move into second and third positions respectively. Koh however, overtook Foo for third position by the end of the first lap.
Wong held on to his lead for seven laps until making a slight mistake which allowed Hayden to inherit the lead.
“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,” said Wong.
Koh meanwhile, was a man on a mission to score as many championship points possible as he claimed his second visit to the winners’ podium in two consecutive races over the weekend. His third place finish was a fitting end to the weekend which also included winning Race 1.
Super Sporting – Race 2
With the exception of Brendon Lim who dropped from fourth to eighth and Brendan Paul Anthony who lost one place, all the drivers in Super Sporting maintained their track positions from start to finish.
Toyotsu Racing’s William Ho led from start to finish, with Telagamas Toyota’s Freddie Ang taking second just under two seconds behind and Kenny Lee of Kegani Racing completing the top three a further two seconds adrift.