An exciting two days of racing was had over the weekend at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu. Season 3 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival kicked off with a great round 1. Here’s the full race report.
Race 2 of Toyota Vios Challenge produced a series of many firsts, with 15-year-old Hayden Haikal storming to his second race victory and his first ever win on a street circuit in the Sporting Class, and singers Wany Hasrita and Nabila Razali making their maiden appearances on the winners’ podium in the Promotional Class for celebrity drivers.
The two-day Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Festival was held at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu with the Toyota Vios Challenge race series being held on a specially-constructed 1.65km street circuit.
“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 who finished the race ahead of Hiewa Racing Team’s Wong Chin Eeg and Panglima City Racing’s Kenneth Koh who crossed the finish line in third position.
Coincidentally, Kuala Terengganu was also the venue where Hayden made his debut in the Toyota Vios Challenge last season where he started his first ever saloon car race in ninth position and also finished ninth.
“After overtaking, I tried to build a gap to Wong, pace myself and focus to not make any mistakes especially in the corners. The start of the 22-lap race started rather dramatically with pole position man Shanmuganathan Arumugan being 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 Dato’ Kenneth 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.
“I experienced a slight impact at the rear going into the first corner and from then on I became rather paranoid of having incurred any damage. I tried to close the gap to the car ahead but in the end the most sensible thing to do was to pace myself to the end because there was also a big gap between me and the car behind,” said Koh.
Rain in the late afternoon meanwhile, made it an uneventful race for the Promotional Class with the start of the race being delayed for 30 minutes before resuming behind the safety car.
The wet conditions however, turned out to be in favour of singer Wany Hasrita who stormed into the 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.
“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,” said Wany who started from pole position on the grid.
Victory was also extremely sweet for Nabila who demonstrated a more calm and composed drive to finish in second place and claim her first visit to the winners’ podium.
“Season 2 was really difficult for me and I struggled to finish the race but thankfully the long hours of practice and with guidance from the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival instructors, my driving and confidence level on the track has improved so much. I’m hoping to do much better this season,” said Nabila.
SUPER SPORTING CLASS
With the exception of Brendon Lim who dropped from fourth position on the grid to eighth place and Brendan Paul Anthony who lost one place, all the drivers in the Super Sporting class maintained their track positions from start to finish in the 22-lap race.
Toyotsu Racing’s William Ho led from start to finish, with Telagamas Toyota’s Freddie Ang taking second place some 1.93 seconds behind, and Kenny Lee of Kegani Racing completing the top three a further two
seconds adrift. In the class of the elite professional racers, the race unfolded with all drivers posting super competitive times and remaining within the 1 minute 15 second to 1 minute 16 second bracket around the 1.65km street circuit.
While it is always difficult for any competitor to overtake on a narrow street track, Ho found that leading the race also placed a degree of pressure.
“Freddie was very close to me and I tried my best to pull away but that proved to be very difficult and I tried my best to keep composed and to not hit the concrete barrier. It was a question of maintaining my pace, not pushing too hard and finishing the race to score valuable championship points,” said Ho.
For motorsports fans and spectators in Kuala Terengganu, the excitement of the two-day Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival was not only confined to the action and drama on the track, but included the display and test drive of Toyota’s fleet of new vehicles, a drift performance by Japanese drifters courtesy of Toyo Tires, a racing simulator challenge, stage games and celebrity performances, promotional activities, lucky draws, the sale of merchandises, and a Superfans Signing Session where fans had the opportunity to mingle with celebrities racing in the Promotional class.
- Wany Hasrita
- Nabila Razali
- Shukri Yahaya
- Shawn Lee
- Diana Danielle
- Hayden Haikal S&D Motorsports
- Wong Chin Eeg Hiewa Racing Team
- Kenneth Koh Panglima City Racing
- Dato’ Ken Foo Kulim Topwheels
- Haji Sutan Mustaffa
- William Ho Toyotsu Racing
- Freddie Ang Telagamas Toyota
- Kenny Lee Kegani Racing
- Tengku Djan Ley 23 Motors
- Boy Wong ST Wangan