KUALA LUMPUR: The second and final day of Round 3 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival and Toyota Vios Challenge saw dramatic and nail-biting races at the Batu Kawan Stadium street circuit in Penang.
The races in Super Sporting, Sporting and Promotional classes had more than 15,000 spectators at the edge of their seats.
In the Super Sporting class, Freddie Ng (Telegamas Toyota) secured the win in Race 2 on Sunday ahead of William Ho (Toyotsu) and defending class champion, Boy Wong.
He made a brilliant pull from the front of the grid to lead the 22-lap race with Ho in close pursuit but not having the right opportunity to overtake.
Ng said: “I had a good start and just tried to pull away. William was close behind but I managed to maintain a good pace to the finish. It was also tough due to the intense heat today.”
He is currently placed third in the overall point standings and still in the fight for the overall championship with two races remaining in the season.
For Ho, setting for second place was a strategic decision to keep his championship hopes alive.
“Freddie (Ng) made a good start and there was absolutely no opportunity for overtaking. There are still two races to go and I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risk that would have jeopardized my chances in the championship,” he said.
As for Tengku Djan Ley however, things did not go as planned for Race 1 as he overcooked it in the very first lap and brushed the concrete barrier.
A damaged right rear wheel forced him to pit and to join the race only two laps later.
Competition in the Sporting class was no less intense with two safety car incidents which eventually decided how the race would end.
Starting at the front of the grid, Tom Goh (S&D Tama Motorsports) led into the first corner ahead of Bradley Benedict Anthony (Dream Chaser), Adam Khalid (Crestmax Motorsports, Haji Sutan Mustaffa Salihin (SMS Motorsports) and Kenneth Koh (Panglima City Racing Team).
However, the race was prematurely stopped in the second lap after a six-car pile-up.
At the restart which was held behind the safety car, four of the 16 cars were eliminated.
Goh continued his dominant drive after the restart and built a significant gap of more than a two seconds as Haji Sutan and Bradley Benedict were pre-occupied in the battle for second place.
Bradley Benedict eventually passed Haji Sutan in the ninth lap and began hunting down Goh.
As the final stages of the race unfolded, Shanmuganathan Arumugam spun his vehicle on the track which brought out the safety car for a second time.
This essentially diminished whatever gap Goh had worked so hard to establish and with two laps to finish (after the safety car exited the track), Bradley Benedict mounted a last minute challenge which put him into the lead two corners from the chequered flag to claim his first race victory of the season.
Goh settled for second with Haji Sutan coming in third.
Meanwhile in the Promotional class, Shukri Yahaya, Nabil Ahmad and Shawn Lee again made up the top three positions in an equally exciting 20-lap race.
Shukri jumped from fourth position on the grid to second place at the beginning of the race, passing singers Nabila Razali and Wany Hasrita who were caught off guard.
Actress Janna Nick made the most of her pole position to lead the race for two laps before having to yield to Shukri who was clearly setting faster pace.
By lap 4, Nabil too made a move to claim second from Janna who by then had to fend off a further challenge from Lee.
Janna did her best to defend the position before eventually making a slight contact with Lee four laps from the finish which then spun her around into oncoming traffic.
Actress Diana Danielle and Nabila managed to avoid hitting Janna’s car but actor Syafiq Kyle drove straight into her.
Shukri commented: “I wasn’t expecting to win but I pounced on the opportunity when Wany and Nabila made a slow start.
“It was my first win this season and I’m really pleased with that.”
For fans in Penang, the excitement of the TGR Festival included the display and test drive of Toyota’s fleet of new vehicles, drift performance by Japanese drifters courtesy of Toyo Tires, a racing simulator challenge, stage games, celebrity performances, promotional activities, lucky draws, the sale of merchandises, and a Super Fans Signing Session for a chance to mingle with the celebrities racing in the Promotional class.
Other attractions were motorcycle sale and merchandise sale by Harley-Davidson and Moto Guzzi, beyblade competition, sale of Hot Wheels die cast models, a concert by popular local band Hujan, and a display by the Art of Speed.
As an added bonus, all vehicles purchased during the two-day event also came with a RM200 complimentary service voucher.