While young drivers may have dominated Race 1 but seasoned racers shows that experience goes a long way Round 2 of the GR Vios Challenge at the Sepang International Circuit. Race 1 saw drivers in all classes of racing appeared to rely on a strategy game to accumulate as many points as they could to remain in contention or to consolidate their position for the overall championship title.
Toyota Malaysia has confirmed that Round 2 Race 1 has garnered a total of 1.5 million online viewers as the race were livestreamed.
While the race was no less exciting with close battles -some right to the finish – patience appeared to have had the upper hand compared to the normal risk taking fans have grown accustomed to watching in the one-make race.
In the Super Sporting for elite drivers, veteran driver Eddie Lew shot into the lead from the front row of the grid to lead the 20-lap race ahead of pole position man and Laser Motor Racing team mate Putera Adam.
Lew held on to the lead for three laps before being overtaken for the lead by a charging Mitchell Cheah who stormed to the head of the pack from fifth on the grid. The top 5 rivers by the halfway mark of the race was dominated by Cheah, Lew, Putera Adam and Axle Sports’ Hayden Haikal and team mate Naquib Azlan.
With 2 laps remaining, the gap between Mitchell and the pair of Lew and Putera Adam was a mere 0.4 seconds and that would be how they finished, with Hayden in fourth and Telagamas Toyota’s Freddie Ang claiming fifth place ahead of Naquib.
“I made one of the worst starts in my racing career,” said a clearly puzzled Putera Adam who had hoped to make the most of pole position.
The battle of the young drivers in the Rookie Class meanwhile, saw Nazmir Azlan claiming victory ahead of Yazid Razak in second, and Azriel Azhar in third position. Nazmir had led the race from start to finish despite starting from fourth position on the grid. Ironically, all three drivers had started from the very back of the grid but ended up finishing in the top three positions.
Pole position man Elson Lew also failed to take full advantage of a front row start and finished the race fifth.
“I’m so happy to finish in first place. The race today was spectacular and surreal. The fact that we started from the back and made it to the top three positions is certainly unexpected and that’s racing for you. The general rule was to stay out of trouble during the race,” said 18-year-old Nazmir.
Meanwhile, second place winner Yazid said there was no more he could have done to overtake Nazmir.
“It’s incredibly challenging racing at night but it is definitely a good experience,” said 19-year-old and simulator racer Yazid.
In the Sporting Class, Nabil Azlan made the most of his pole position to shoot into the lead of the 20-lap race followed by Aaron Haikal of Distinctive Model and 23 Motors’ Abdul Miqail. Aaron and Miqail became embroiled in their own battle for second place which allowed Nabil to extend his lead from 1.5 seconds to more than 3.4 seconds ahead after 6 laps. That lead progressively increased to 6.5 seconds before Nabil eventually crossed the finish line with a healthy 11-second win.
With 6 laps to go, the battle for second place was joined by Axle Sports’ Sharique Zulqarnain who had started from 4th on the grid. Sharique disposed of Aaron for third position before setting his sights on Miqail who was a further 1 second ahead. The battle between Miqail and Sharique intensified into the last lap but contact between the two drivers took both of them out of contention promoting Aaron back to second position and Race Rally KL’s Mohd Shafiq Samsudin into third place.
“I had a good start and after the first lap I saw that Miqail was very close to me and I defended as best I could. That worked out in my favour and from then on it was about trying to maintain my lap times and being consistent throughout the race,” said Nabil.
In the Promotional Class for celebrities, pole sitter and actor Shukri Yahaya drove a flawless 18-lap race to win ahead of actor and host Ezzrin Loy in second position and actress Ahirine Ahirudin rounding up the top three positions.
“I felt some pressure during the race. I thought it was Zizan chasing me down but it turned out to be Ezzrin. He’s extremely quick and I expect him to give both Zizan and I a tough fight moving forward,” said Shukri.
For Ezzrin, consistency has been the name of the game as he makes his third straight visit to the podium in three races so far.
“The main thing for me is to improve and challenge myself. I want to improve round by round and to explore motorsports with Toyota GAZOO Racing. I’m not here to play safe but to improve every round and hopefully join the ranks of Shukri and Zizan,” said Ezzrin.
Round 2 of the GR Vios Challenge at the Sepang International Circuit is live streamed on http://www.toyota.com.my/tgrmalaysia and across all of Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia’s social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube pages.
The race involves total of 45 drivers competing in the Super Sporting Class for elite and professional drivers; Sporting Class for amateurs; Rookie Class for young drivers; and the Promotional Class for celebrities.
The live stream for Race 2 tomorrow (Sunday, 4 June), starts at 6.30pm with the Sporting Class, followed by the Super Sporting and Rookie Classes at 8.00pm, and the Promotional Class at 9.00pm. Viewers will also be treated to a special performance by local singer and celebrity racer Khai Bahar at 9.40pm.
For more information, log on to UMW Toyota Motor (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd website at http://www.toyota.com.my and on the Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia social media pages.
GR VIOS CHALLENGE, ROUND 2, RACE 1 RESULTS
SUPER SPORTING CLASS
- Mitchell Cheah Prima Pearl TD Racing
- Eddie Lew Laser Motor Racing
- Putera Adam Laser Motor Racing
- Nabil Azlan Axle Sports
- Aaron Haikal Distinctive Model
- Mohd Shafiq Samsudin Race Rally KL
- Nazmir Azlan
- Yazid Razak
- Azriel Azhar
- Shukri Yahaya
- Ezzrin Loy
- Ahirine Ahirudin