On-track action ensues in 2019 Toyota Vios Racing Festival Circuit Championship Round 1

June 11, 2019

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) recently held the opening round of its revamped Vios Cup one-make racing series. Now dubbed as Vios Racing Festival, this exciting motorsports event saw its first green light last June 7 and 8 at the 4.2 km long Clark International Speedway (CIS) in Pampanga.

As previewed a few months back, the Vios Racing Festival is made up of 2 events; the Autocross Challenge and the Circuit Championship, with the former holding its opening round last April at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds. More on that here. Focusing on the latter, it’s comprised of three classes; Celebrity Class, Promotional Class, and Bridgestone Sporting Class.

To those avid Vios Cup fans wondering why there’s no Super Sporting Class, TMP explains that the Circuit Championship is like a clean slate, meaning everything skill level-wise is back to square 1. In order for the Super Sporting Class to be established come next year, those racing in Bridgestone Sporting Class must prove their mettle this season.

Race 1 (Friday, June 7)

The opening round of the 2019 Toyota Vios Racing Festival Circuit Championship went off on a high note. With all drivers still adjusting themselves to the new Vios race machine, everyone was in a weird “known, yet unknown territory” of sort. After 12 laps around CIS though, everyone was getting the hang of things as evidenced by the results.

In Celebrity Class, Daniel Matsunaga crossed the line in 1st place, followed by Aubrey Miles in 2nd and Gretchen Ho in 3rd. On the other hand, team Obengers dominated the Promotional Class with 3 of its 5 racers stepping atop the podium. These were Francis Adriano (Obengers/Toyota San Jose del Monte), Julian Tang (Obengers/Toyota Otis), and lady driver Elysse Menorca (Obengers/Toyota North EDSA) completing the race in that order.

Up in Bridgestone Sporting Class, another Obengers ace driver in the form of John Dizon (Obengers/Toyota Marilao) took home 1st. In 2nd was Gel Napat (Biskeg/Toyota Dagupan), while following closely in 3rd was Red Diwa (Growl Thule Racing).

Race 2 (Saturday, June 8)

The following day saw 2 of the remaining races for Round 1 being held. Right before lunch time, the green flag was waved, signaling the start of Race 2. A bit of drama ensued as early as race start as Gel Napat lost control and hit the wall right before turn 1. Thankfully, no one was hurt, including Gel himself who later rejoined the race to finish 7, all thanks to the quick work of his team Biskeg/Toyota Dagupan.

The 12-lap race had numerous instances of dicing between drivers. When the dust settled, it was Troy Montero who won 1st place in Celebrity Class. Behind him was Gretchen Ho in 2nd and Daniel Matsunaga in 3rd. In Promotional Class, Francis Adriano maintained his strong pace from yesterday, thus earning him yet another 1st place. Coming in 2nd was Julian Neri (Toyota Cebu). Lastly in 3rd was Fabio Ide who finally moved up from his Celebrity Racer status to compete in a tougher playing field this season.

Meanwhile in Bridgestone Sporting Class, Eggy Ong (JBT Racing/Toyota San Fernando) clinched 1st place, followed by Red Diwa in 2nd and Lord Seno (Toyota Cebu) in 3rd.

Race 3

Later in the afternoon, the 3rd and final race of Round 1 went underway. Everything went smoothly from start to finish, albeit the expected dashing and dicing. Troy Montero secured another 1st place victory in Celebrity Class. Sharing the podium were Gretchen Ho in 2nd and Aubrey Miles in 3rd. In Promotional Class, Julian Tang, Elysse Menorca, and Francis Adriano finished the race in that order.

Finally in Bridgestone Sporting Class, the top 3 winners were Lord Seno, John Dizon, and Gel Napat who claimed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, respectively.

Autocross Challenge Round 2

The 2nd leg of the Autocross Challenge was also held that day in-between Race2 and 3 of the Circuit Championship, the results of which are as follows.

Media Class

  • Jose Altoveros (Autoindustriya) – 1st (00:53.05)
  • Jeff Soberon (MP Turbo) – 2nd (00:54.05)
  • Matt Mallari (STV) – 3rd (00:55.15)

Influencer Class

  • Vince Vandorpe – 1st (00:54.49)
  • Phytos Ramirez – 2nd (00:56.83)
  • Reph Bangsil 3rd (00:57.06)

Car Club Class

  • Carlos Iňigo Anton – 1st (00:49.99)
  • Mickie Carbonel – 2nd (00:52.65)
  • Alexis Lavapie – 3rd (00:53.02)

Catch the action again next time for the 2019 Toyota Vios Racing Festival Round 2. We’ll keep you posted on the details soon. 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.