There’s this scene from the racing movie “Days of Thunder” where Tom Cruise’s character bemoans another car slamming into him to his race engineer, Harry Hogge; played by Robert Duvall. The latter’s reply is the definition of door-to-door racing.
“No, no, he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you... he rubbed you. And rubbin, son, is racing.”
Many of the drivers in the third round of the third season of the Vios Challenge took those very words to heart as they gave it 110 per cent on the tight confines of the Batu Kawan Stadium circuit in Penang. Race 1 on 15 February was a more textbook affair but Race 2 on the following day was all about the rubbing and the racing.
Super Sporting – Race 1
Beginning with the best, Tengku Djan of 23 Motors demonstrated why he was the best of the best with a dominating performance from start to finish. Starting on pole, Djan crossed the chequered flag five seconds ahead of Laser Motor Racing’s Mark Darwin and Dream Chaser’s Brendan Paul Anthony.
Djan drove a flawless race and gapped Kegani’s Kenny Lee in second by 2.3-seconds in the first couple of laps. Kenny’s race ended on Lap 9 with a wall clip that saw Mark and Brendan step up. Out came the safety car and into the bin went Djan’s lead.
Nonetheless, the Prince of Drift still built up his commanding lead once again after the restart and took the win.
Sporting – Race 1
Wonderkid Hayden Haikel once again proved his mettle with a win in the Sporting Class. Starting from P2, Hayden was on the tail of Aylezo Motorsport’s Mirza Syahmi Mahzan; who started on pole and made a brilliant start. The first four laps saw just 0.5-seconds separating Mirza and Hayden but a mistake in the fifth lap sent the former into the wall and into an early shower.
Hayden inherited the lead and as the race unfolded, extended his lead from three to as much as eight seconds ahead of Panglima City’s Kennth Koh; who finished second ahead of Crestmax Racing’s Adam Khalid.
“I had a good start and was following Mirza for quite a few laps but then he made a mistake and understeered into the corner. There was no contact between the two of us and fortunately I managed to avoid Mirza. From then on, I had a clear track ahead and just maintained a consistent pace,” said 16-year old Hayden.
Promotional – Race 1
A downpour saw the start of the Promotional Class race tail the safety car for the first six laps. Shawn Lee stormed from pole to the finish for a win in the rain. In second place was television presenter Nabil Ahmad followed by actor Shukri Yahaya in this position.
Super Sporting – Race 2
With the reverse grid in effect, Telagamas Toyota’s Freddie Ang made the most of his pole spot to clinch victory from start to finish in Race 2 ahead of Toyotsu’s William Ho and defending class champion Boy Wong.
“I had a good start and just tried to pull away. William was close behind but I managed to maintain a good pace to the finish. It was also tough due to the intense heat today,” said Ng who is currently placed third in the overall point standings and still in the fight for the overall championship with two races remaining in the season.
Ang had to decide between running this third round of the Vios Challenge or participating in a wildcard session for the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) round with Viper Niza and made the decision to drive the Vios.
At the back of the grid, things went awry for Race 1 winner Djan who made contact with the wall on the first lap and broke a wheel that forced him to pit. Rejoining in last, Djan nonetheless drove like hell and climbed back to sixth for some valuable points.
Sporting – Race 2
Here comes the rubbing part of the weekend. The safety car made a cameo twice and unintentionally played a crucial role in the outcome of the race. Stating on pole was S&D Tama Motorsports and fellow motoring journalist Tom Goh, ahead of Bradley, Adam, SMS Motorsports’ Haji Sutan Mustaffa Salihin and Kenneth.
A six-car pile-up saw the first safety car appearance and four of the 16 field retire for the day with heavy damage. Tom continued his dominant drive after the restart and built a gap of more than two seconds as Sutan and Bradley had a dogfight for second. Bradley eventually passed Haji Sutan in the ninth lap and started reeling in Tom.
It would’ve all been in vain though as Tom’s lead looked to be sufficient for this first win. However, the safety car had other plans. Shanmuganathan Arumugam spun, bringing out the safety car again.
This completely erased Tom’s gap, allowing Bradley to fully capitalise on it with a main of polished driving and a side of rubbing. He squeezed past Tom two corners from the finish for his first win instead. Tom settled for second with Sutan coming in third.
Promotional – Race 2
Things were equally exciting in the last race of the weekend with crashes, hair’s width misses and a first win. Shukri jumped from fourth to second at the start, catching out Nabila Razali and Wany Hasrita.
Janna Nick was on pole with the reverse grid and managed to fend off Shukri for a couple of laps before being passed. A couple of laps later, Nabil Ahmad went for second to claim second from Janna, who by then had to fend off a further challenge from Lee.
Janna drove well but unfortunately slight contact with Lee four laps from the finish spun her around into oncoming traffic at a blind corner. Diana Danielle and Nabila managed to avoid hitting her third time wasn’t the charm as Syafiq Kyle barreled straight into the side.
Shukri claimed the win with Nabil and Shawn behind him.