Drivers take racing in the rain to an art form in Round 2 of the 2019 Toyota Vios Circuit Championship

September 2, 2019

Toyota motor Philippines (TMP) has concluded its second leg of the inaugural Vios Racing Festival Circuit Championship. Held last August 30 and 31 at the 4.2 km long Clark International Speedway (CIS) in Pampanga, the race weekend was brimming with heart-stopping action and drama as drivers had to contend with unpredictable weather and tricky track conditions.

The Toyota Vios Circuit Championship is comprised of three classes: Celebrity, Promotional, and Sporting. What’s special about this year is that unlike the Toyota Vios Cup which held separate races for each class, the Vios Circuit Championship combines all classes into one exhilarating 12-lap race done three times the entire weekend. As a result, the CIS grid was jam-packed with a total of 26 cars battling it out for the win.

It’s been more than two months since the opening round, but with a week’s worth of practice session before race day, all drivers got into the zone with the new Toyota Vios racing machine real quick, just in time for Round 2’s first race held last Friday, August 30.

Race 1

Troy Montero took home 1st in Celebrity Class. On his tail were Daniel Matsunaga and Gretchen Ho who clinched 2nd and 3rd plac3s, respectively. Up in Promotional Class, Julian Tang (Obengers/Toyota Otis) outclassed Julian Neri (Toyota Cebu) to win 1st place, with the latter closing in not far behind. Meanwhile, Darrel Garbes (JBT Racing/Toyota San Fernando) settled for 3rd.

As for the top-seeded Sporting Class, Red Diwa (Growl Thule Racing/JBT Racing/Toyota Isabela) cruised to victory. He was followed by John Dizon (Obengers/Toyota Marilao) in 2nd place, while Eggy Ong (JBT Racing/Toyota San Fernando) claimed 3rd.

Race 2

The next day, weather updates were abuzz with reports of intermittent heavy rain predicted for the whole day. The 12-lap race started off as usual and proceeded without a hitch. But things went wild during the final seconds of the last lap.

Celebrity racer Troy Montero lost control of the car just past the checkered flag, hit the wall, and collected Sporting Class contender John Dizon. It would seem like Dizon took the brunt of the impact as his car flipped over. Thankfully it landed upright and that he was okay. As for Montero, he walked away shaken, but relatively unhurt. The same couldn’t be said for his car, though as engineers and official deemed it too damaged to compete in the final race of the day.

Because the incident happened under the checkered flag, Montero was given the Celebrity Class top spot. In 2nd place was Daniel Matsunaga with Aubrey Miles taking 3rd place. In promotional Class, lady driver Elysse Menorca (Oberngers/Toyota North EDSA) floored it to take home 1st place while successfully defending her position against Julian Neri who settled for 2nd. In 3rd was Francis Adriano (Obengers/Toyota San Jose Del Monte). Finally in Sporting Class, the top 3 winners were Eggy Ong, Marc Soong (Obengers/Toyota Balintawak), and Clive Fermin (Toyota Cebu) who crossed the line in that order.

Race 3

After the 2nd race, dark clouds began unleashing torrents of heavy rain. This not only decreased track visibility, but also made the surface quite slippery. But as the saying goes, “the rain is the ultimate equalizer.”

This was proven true once more as just a few seconds from start of Race 3, yellow flags were seen being waved, prompting yet another safety car moment as several drivers slipped on their way to the first corner. This also foretold a series of safety car moments to come. Even the final lap was finished under the lead of the safety car. Fortunately, there were still a few laps worth of proper racing.

In the end, celebrity racers Daniel Matsunaga, Gretchen Ho, and Aubrey Miles crossed the line in that order. In Promotional Class, Elysse Menorca again took the top spot with Francis Adriano and Julian Tang taking 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. Lastly in Sporting Class, Eggy Ong took another 1st place victory, outpacing Red Diwa in 2nd and Clive Fermin in 3rd.

Autocross Challenge 3

In between the Circuit Championship races, several heats of the Autocross Challenge were held. Here are the winners of the challenge’s 3rd leg.

Media Class

  • Jose Altoveros (Autoindustriya) – 1st (00:50.23)
  • Earl Lee (Auto Deal – 2nd (00:50.48)
  • Chewy Buhion (Manila Times) - 3rd (00:51.94)

Influencer Class

  • Jules Aqiono – 1st (00:50.94)
  • Reph Bangsil – 2nd (00:51.45)
  • Jun Sunga – 3rd (00:52.69)

Car Club Class

  • Carlos Inigo Anton – 1st (00:47.07)
  • Sean Ng 0 2nd (00:49.27)
  • Mickie Carbonell – 3rd (00:50.53)

Catch the action as the final round of the 2019 Toyota Vios Racing Festival Circuit Championship returns to CIS this November. The 2019 Toyota Vios Racing Festival is made possible by Toyota Motor Philippines, Toyota Gazoo racing, and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), with Bridgestone Philippines and Petron Corporation as official tire provider and fuel partner, respectively. Also making thing happen is Tuason Racing, along with other key sponsors 3M, AVT, Brembo, Denso, Motul, OMP, and Rota Wheels.

Photos: Randolph de Leon

About the Author

Randolph de Leon
Randy is a person with disability (PWD), a partially-blinded person with only his left eye functioning. Since childhood, the automobile has always been his passion, and is able to express it through photography and most recently, through writing as well. Outside the motoring beat, Randy spends time manning the media aspect of his business which he co-founded with his sister/college classmate. It's called Dragonlight Wellness and Solutions, a multi-business venture centering on improving peoples' lives through earning.