Toyota Vios Circuit Championship Leg 1 of the Vios Racing Festival returns to Clark International Speedway in an eventful fight between circuit veteran racers and newcomers.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) brought its premiere motorsports program back to its main venue at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga last June 8, 2019, with the staging of the 1st leg of the Vios Circuit Championship. The circuit racing category of the Vios Racing Festival saw veterans and new faces competing from the tracks and celebrating podium victories. The circuit race is the classic format wherein all drivers are simultaneously competing against each other in the proper racetrack head to head and lap per lap until they reach the finish line of the last lap. The grid formation is usually determined during the qualifying time trial where all drivers who achieve the fastest lap time determines their position in the grid giving the fastest driver the pole position.
The circuit racers were categorized into several classes. The Promotional/Celebrity Class consists of celebrities like Gerald Anderson, Chie Filomeno, Gretchen Ho, Daniel Matsunaga, Troy Montero, and Aubrey Miles. The Promotional Class, on the other hand, are composed of the aspiring newbies, most of them coming from previous karting races elevating themselves into car racing. Fabio Ide, has been elevated to the Promotional Class since topping last year’s celebrity championship. The Sporting Class consists of seasoned amateur and professional circuit racers such as 17-year-old karting phenom John T. Dizon (2-time Philippines and Asia Karter of the Year) who defended his 2018 Vios Cup championship title to his closest rivals.
The two-day event started on June 7, 2019, where all racers from different categories went thru QTT (Qualifying Time Trials). 2018 Vios Cup Sporting Class Champion John Dizon of Toyota Marilao/Team Obengers took pole position by besting the whole grid which includes veteran campaigners Gel Napat of Toyota Dagupan/Team Biskeg and Red Diwa of Growl Thule Racing.
During Race 1, John Dizon won 1st place podium when he dominated and maintained his lead over Gel Napat and Red Diwa who took 2nd and 3rd, respectively. In the promotional class, first-time participant Francis Adriano of Toyota San Del Monte/Team Obengers powered over Toyota Otis/Team Obengers Julian Tang and female racer Elysse Menorca of Toyota North Edsa/Team Obengers, placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively. For the celebrity class, which marked the racing debut of Gerald Anderson, was won by veteran Daniel Matsunaga taking 1st place over strong lady rivals Aubrey Miles and Gretchen Ho who took 2nd and 3rd podiums respectively.
For Race 2, leading racer John Dizon suffered gearbox failure which forced him into DNF (Did Not Finish) status and because of this, newcomer Eggy Ong of JBT Racing / Toyota San Fernando finished 1st place while veterans Red Diwa and Toyota Cebu’s Lord Seno took 2nd and 3rd podium honors.
Francis Adriano repeated his exploits in the Promotional Class when he finished again in 1st place over Julian Neri of Toyota Cebu and Celebrity Fabio Ide taking 2nd and 3rd podium places respectively. Celebrity racers Troy Montero led Race 2 of his class up to the chequered flag besting co-stars Gretchen Ho, and Daniel Matsunaga managed to salvage 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
The final race or Race 3 on Saturday featured a story of from “zero to hero” type of dramatic finish. Though it was veteran Lord Seno of Cebu lording over Race 3 by finishing 1st, the drama unfolded when John Dizon managed to achieve 2nd despite coming all the way from 17th, the furthest position of the grid. Dizon showed that the quest for the podium is not over until it’s over.
It must be noted that due to the DNF he suffered in Race 2 due to mechanical problems, John Dizon was relegated to the tail end of the grid for Race 3. Yet, this was not detrimental to him achieving 2nd, managing to overtake 16 racers, taking them down patiently lap by lap reminiscent of what Lewis Hamilton once did in F1 races. Thus, Toyota Motor Philippines awarded John Dizon, aside from his 2nd place podium trophy, the rare “Slingshot Racer” Award of the day for his courage and bravery. Closing out 3rd place podium in the Sporting Class is Gel Napat of team Biskeg.
For the Promotional class, Julian Tang secured 1st place by taking advantage of the mechanical woes suffered by his top rivals where Elysse Menorca and race leader in Race 1 and 2 Francis Adriano settled for 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
In the celebrity class, Troy Montero took 1st place again over Gretchen Ho and Aubrey Miles who finished 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
Meanwhile, on the AutoCross Challenge, new racers emerged victorious in the 2nd leg in Clark with racers from media class and car clubs tried their luck in the new track layout which is more high speed than the one in the 1st leg held in Mall of Asia, Pasay. In the media class, AutoIndustriya’s Jose Altoveros maintained his winning streak, besting Jeff Soberon who finished 2nd. Newcomer Matt Mallari, a veteran cameraman of STV bested other media racers by taking a surprise 3rd place podium.
In the Car Club class, 14-year-old slalom prodigy Ińigo Anton wins again by taking 1st place over Mickie Carbonnel and newcomer Alexis Lavapie in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
The Influencers class completed the 2-day long event when Vince Vandorphe won 1st place over Phytos Ramirez and Reph Bangsil who landed 2nd and 3rd place respectively.