The Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival Season 5 has arrived. Young and seasoned drivers put their racing stripes to the test in order to find out who is the best!
Toyotas once again filled Sepang International Circuit as the fifth season, first-round of the ‘one make’ Vios Challenge series commenced over the past weekend.
As in previous seasons, the Vios Challenge features four different categories, namely Promotional (for celebrities), Rookie (for young talents born from simulator and kart racing), Sporting (amateur) and Super Sporting (professional).
What was apparent over the weekend was the rise of Rookie drivers from last season, as they demonstrated vast improvements, now being able to compete with the more experienced drivers in the Sporting and Super Sporting categories.
“The one-make format of the Vios Challenge, the increasing number of younger drivers, and the emphasis we have placed on the Gazoo Racing Young Driver Development Program has certainly been able to make a significant impact on the track. It levels the competition between the younger and more experienced drivers, rewards skill and racecraft, and promotes an even higher quality of racing on the track,” said UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd President, Ravindran K.
In the Rookie Class, 18-year-old Sharique Zulqarinain rounded up his racing weekend with a double podium finish, with victory in Race 2 and a second place in Saturday’s Race 1. Finishing second was 20-year-old Muizz Musyaffa. Securing third in both Race 2 and 1 was 19- year-old Muhammad Hamdany Abdul Hamid.
In the Super Sporting Class, last season's champion, Tengku Djan Ley had to withdraw from his first race due to health problems, and his place was taken by his own brother, Tengku Ezan to drive the number 12 Prima Pearl Auto Vios.
This paved the way for veteran driver Eddie Liew, who gave a strong performance over the weekend, coming in third in Race 1 and first in Race 2.
Over at the Sporting Class, Crestmax Motorsports Bradley Benedict Anthony was declared race winner with Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh and 23 Motors’ Abdul Miqail in second and third places respectively. Race 1 winner Naquib Azlan of Axle Motorsports had also won Race 2, but his hopes of a double victory weekend were shattered when he was later handed a 30-second penalty, effectively dropping him to seventh position overall.
For the Promotional class, despite dominating in Race 1, actor and comedian Zizan Razak faltered in Race 2 as he was involved in a crash as soon as the race started.
Despite being in the last position due to the accident, Zizan managed to claw his way back up to second place and finished there, behind Shukri Yahaya and in front of fellow presenter and comedian Nabil Ahmad.
Round 2 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival and Vios Challenge race series is scheduled for June and Toyota hopes that it will once again be able to safely invite the public, after two seasons of the event being held behind closed doors due to the pandemic.
For more information, log on to www.toyota.com.my or visit the Toyota Malaysia and Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia Facebook pages.
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