Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia delights millions of online viewers with thrilling night racing in Round 2 of GR Vios Challenge.
Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia’s electrifying weekend of night racing in Round 2 of the GR Vios Challenge captivated a staggering total of 3.7 million online viewers across all social media platforms.
Held at the iconic Sepang International Circuit, the event showcased intense competition as top contenders in the Super Sporting Class, Sporting Class, Rookie Class, and Promotional Class vied for championship points.
With one final round remaining in September, the race for the overall titles remains wide open.
“The GR Vios Challenge’s door-to-door competition, where no favourite driver can be singled out for dominance until the last corner of the last lap, keeps spectators and online viewers at the edge of their seats,” remarked Datuk Ravindran K., President of UMW Toyota Motor.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our online viewers, race fans, racers, race teams, dealers, and sponsors for their unwavering support. It is their passion that has made the GR Vios Challenge what it is today.”
Race 2 unfolded with gripping highlights in the Sporting Class as Sharique Zulqarnain, a former Rookie driver, faltered at the start, allowing Kenneth Koh of Panglima City Racing Team to surge into the lead.
Bradley Benedict Anthony of Crestmax Motorsport claimed third place, closely followed by Aaron Haikal of Distinctive Model in fourth.
Sharique’s withdrawal from the race on the third lap set the stage for a fierce battle between Koh, Bradley, and Aaron. Bradley eventually surpassed Koh to secure the lead in the seventh lap, and the three contenders engaged in a thrilling duel until the checkered flag.
Crossing the finish line just 0.6 seconds ahead of Koh, Bradley clinched the victory, while Aaron secured his second podium finish of the weekend in third place.
Reflecting on his performance, the 21-year-old Bradley stated, “Although the car setup this weekend wasn’t optimal for me until tonight’s race, we made significant progress. My fastest lap during the race was even faster than my qualifying time. However, it was far from an easy race, as everyone behind me kept exerting pressure throughout the 20 laps.”
Koh, who returned to the podium after six races, expressed his elation, stating, “It was a combination of exploring various setups, receiving technical assistance from a new team, and adopting a different driving style. I aim to accumulate as many points as possible this season, and the approach seems to be paying off.”
Super Sporting Class
In the Super Sporting Class race, Naquib Azlan of Axle Sports took the lead from pole position, closely pursued by Freddie Ang of Telagamas Toyota and Hayden Haikal. By the second lap, Hayden surged ahead, with Putera Adam of Laser Motor Racing climbing to third as Naquib faced mounting pressure, eventually dropping to sixth place.
Putera overtook Ang for second place in the fifth lap, but a red flag incident prompted the race to be stopped in the seventh lap. Upon the restart, Putera maintained his lead, with Ang resolutely regaining second place and Mitchell Cheah of Prima Pearl TD Racing finishing third with just two laps remaining.
Recapping his victory, Putera expressed his satisfaction, saying, “Yesterday’s race was a good one, despite starting at a disadvantage. Today’s race was equally challenging, and winning feels surreal. The final round of the Super Sporting Class promises even more excitement, as everyone is racing at similar speeds, and the outcome will be determined by the split-second decisions made during the race.”
In the Rookie Class, Elson Lew redeemed himself from a disappointing Race 1 by securing victory in Race 2. Despite a poor start that saw him finish fifth in Race 1, Lew showcased his talent by claiming first place. Iman Danish secured second place, while Azriel Azhar finished third, securing his second podium finish of the weekend.
Reflecting on his comeback, Lew said, “I had a difficult start in Race 1 and struggled to keep up with the leading pack. It feels great to bounce back stronger in Race 2 and eventually clinch the win.”
The Promotional Class race for celebrities experienced an early stoppage when an incident involving actor Shukry Yahaya and TV personality Hefny Sahad led to a red flag after just three laps.
Upon the restart, Zizan Razak, swiftly established a 1.8-second lead over Ezzrin. Ahirine Ahirudin secured third place. Zizan faced intense pressure from Ezzrin throughout the race, with the final gap between them standing at a mere 0.2 seconds.
Acknowledging the challenge posed by Ezzrin, Zizan humorously commented, “Ezzrin Loy has become my new rival. He applied constant pressure from start to finish in Race 2. I must also commend Ahirine for delivering an outstanding race.”
The GR Vios Challenge and Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival will culminate with the third and final round at the Sepang International Circuit from September 29th to October 1st, 2023.