Shah Alam, 21 May 2022 – Twice as exciting but every bit wheel to wheel action from start to finish, with the lead exchanging hands multiple times right up to the final corners of the race in the first-ever running of the GAZOO Racing Vios Sprint Cup at Sepang International Circuit.
The one-hour race around the 5.534km Sepang International Circuit saw a total of 18 cars and 36 drivers competing in a one-hour race. In the end, victory belonged to the pair of Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel and Mika Hakimi who drove the Prima Pearl TD Racing Toyota Vios across the finish line just half a second ahead of Axle Motorsports’ pairing of Boy Wong/Nabil Azlan, while in third was S&D Tama Motorsports’ Freddie Ang and Tom Goh.
Starting from pole position, Ang began the race for S&D Tama Motorsports but lost the lead in the very first corner of the first lap to Wong in the Axle Motorsports Vios, with Tengku Djan in the top five positions and never really appearing to threaten the top three positions.
From fourth on the grid, Tengku Djan paced himself, picking off the front runners one at a time before positioning himself as high as second in the 10th lap, 30 minutes into the race, and just as the pit window opened for a driver change.
“As the pit window presented itself, we looked at the overall race and decided that it was just the right time to pit for a tyre and driver change. With the car running hot, it was better to make a pit stop and take that chance to cool the car down, cool the tyres down before going back on track to attack again,” said Tengku Djan.
“It’s a one-hour race and it’s a lot more stressful. Fitness definitely plays a role and it was definitely hot today as well. For example, in a race where everyone is on identical cars, I close the windows on my car so I get better aerodynamic co-efficiency but that means you’re essentially cooking in the car and without fitness, you will mentally breakdown.”
Speaking of his teammate Mika, Tengku Djan added: “Mika has proven himself in the GAZOO Racing Young Driver Development Program last year and he had some really good races in the Rookie Class. After a few sessions preparing for the Vios Sprint Cup he came straight up to the pace. The pace is definitely there but there are some areas he will need to look into for example a little more aggression so that he can pressure the car in front more efficiently.”
With the final 30 minutes of the race unfolding, Prima Pearl TD Racing’s fate was left in the hands of 19-year-old Mika who registered a sterling drive in what was to be a game of nerves. From third, he quickly challenged Goh (2nd driver for S&D Tama Motorsports) for the second position before setting his sights on the lead – a move that no one anticipated and would not come until the final few corners of the last lap.
“In these kinds of races, you really have to pick your battles and that’s precisely what I did. I told myself that I would only go all out in the final two laps. I wanted to close the gap on Nabil immediately after taking over from Djan but it was better to just let the battle between Nabil and Goh play out ahead of me and save my tyres for the end,” said Mika.
“When you have Djan as your teammate you really need to be on your top form.”
Finishing second clearly disappointed was Nabil who made a crucial mistake in the last lap.
“I made a mistake in shifting gears. I am sorry to the team because we could have won it. At the exit of turn 2, I wanted to shift into 3rd gear, but I accidentally went into 1st,” said 20-year-old Nabil. “I’m happy that I showed pace here today but disappointed that I could not finish first.”
For third place winner Goh, meanwhile, starting from pole position was an incredible boost considering the tough competition he and teammate Ang were in.
“The Vios Sprint Cup is an exciting format, especially with the compulsory pit stop and driver change. I was hoping to win from pole position, but Mika and Nabil were super-fast and all I could do was to try to defend as best as I can,” said Tom.
The GAZOO Racing Vios Sprint Cup is held in conjunction with the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS) and features two 1-hour races over the weekend, with two-driver teams competing in three generations of Vios vying for total prize monies amounting to RM60,000.
The champion in each of the two races at the GR Vios Sprint Cup stands to win RM10,000 cash, followed by RM8,000 for the first runner up, RM6,000 to the third place winner, and RM4,000 and RM2,000 for the fourth and fifth place winners respectively.
Catch the action of Round 2 of the GAZOO Racing Vios Sprint Cup tomorrow (22 May 2022) at the Sepang International Circuit, or tune in to the action live on www.toyota.com.my and UMW Toyota’s Facebook page.
For more information, kindly visit www.toyota.com.my.
GR VIOS SPRINT CUP – RACE 1 RESULTS
1. Tengku Djan Ley/Mika Hakimi – Prima Pearl TD Racing
2. Boy Wong/Nabil Azlan – Axle Motorsports
3. Freddie Ang/Tom Goh – S&D Tama Motorsports
4. Hayden Haikal/Naquib Azlan – Axle Motorsports
5. Mark Darwin/Bradley Benedict – Laser Motor Racing