It was all about one last gasp for podium glory and in the end, only the best and the brightest succeeded.
With no less than the season honors up for grabs and double points offered for the final three races in the third and last leg of the 2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR)-Vios Cup, drivers burned rubber on the Clark International Speedway like there was no tomorrow and three familiar faces stood out: Estefano Rivera, Inigo Anton and Jiro Garbes.
Denied of a win in the first two races, Rivera of Toyota Balintawak/Obengers Racing Team claimed the all-important victory in Race 3 in a dramatic no holds barred duel with a determined Pauland Dumlao of JBT Racing/Toyota San Fernando en route to winning the centerpiece Super Sporting Class crown.
“I feel very blessed and happy for winning this years Vios Cup since this competition is something I have been wanting to win since 2015. This victory and competition is really close to the heart,” said an elated Rivera who was still in second place after Race 8. Dumlao was only in fifth spot entering the last leg of the competition.
But after topping Races 7 and 8 while finishing Race 9 at fourth place, he was able to climb to second (with 159 points), enough to overtake eventual third placer, Red Diwa of JTB Racing/Toyota Isabela who finished with 133 points.
Meanwhile, racing prodigy and 2019 Philippine Autocross Series overall champion Anton of Toyota North Edsa/Obengers Racing Team shared he’s “over the moon” after winning the Sporting Class considering he only finished third in Race 7 and second in Race 8.
“It was so hard and at one point we thought we might not end up winning the championship after a bad race in the morning. Luckily, the team pulled together really well for the last race (Anton placed second in Race 9), which is enough to get past my championship rival Jacob Ang to secure the title.”
Ang of Eagle Cement Racing Team almost did it as he topped Races 7 and 8. But when he finished Race 9 in third place, he ended up 12 points behind Anton. Third place overall went to Julian Tang of Toyota Marilao/Obengers Racing.
In the Promotional Class, Garbes who was driving for JBT Racing/Toyota San Fernando finished first in Race 7, second in Race 8 and third in Race 9 in a consistent performance that was more than enough to keep his pursuers at bay and claim the crown.
“Joining the race was the most exhilarating thing I ever felt in his life. We fought long and hard throughout the season, took everything my late coach taught me to the track and it paid off in the end. Vios Cup is definitely a great way to start getting into motorsports,” said Garbes who marked his first year in motorsports via #TGRViosCup2021.
Actor Troy Montero’s podium finishes—third in Races 7 and 8 and winner in Race 9—enabled him to climb in rank to finish second in the Promotional Class with 144 overall points. The Toyota Gazoo Racing PH driver was sitting in fourth entering the final leg. Maila Alivia of JTB Racing/Toyota Isabela finished 3rd overall.
OTR Racing Team’s Jason Lao felt ecstatic considering he saw much improvement in his driving skills from when he started during the first leg up until the last.
“The Vios Cup 2021 was such a great experience having to meet new friends and establishing great camaraderie, and I am looking forward to the Vios cup 2022 season!” said Lao who finished 2nd in Race 7, 1st in Race 8 and 6th in Race 9 and enabled to earn him 116 overall points, which is just 3 points behind 3rd placer Alivia.
Adidas Runners Manila Captain and Fitness Guru Jules Aquino, meanwhile, couldn’t express his feelings into words with his championship status, conquering the 2nd and Final leg of the Autocross Challenge that came as a fitting advanced gift for his birthday he celebrated yesterday.
“The moment I got into the driver’s seat, I closed my eyes for a bit, felt the sunset on my face, and just told myself to let go of everything and all the thoughts and to just focus on my race, and guess what, I came out with a win!” Jules said.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup is Toyota’s performance development arm specializing in motorsports, and the development of ever-better cars through the experience of the racing environment. The Vios Cup OMR (One Make Race) embodies TGR’s goal of developing thrilling and reliable cars on and off the track, demonstrated by the exhilarating races of the Vios Cup. It also marked a successful return for the country’s biggest motorsports event after being cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2021 TGR-Vios Cup was organized in cooperation with Bridgestone, official fuel partner Petron, supported by Motul. Other sponsors are Brembo, Denso, AVT, 3M, OMP, Tuason Racing, and ROTA.
Charles E. Buban is an old timer in the Philippine automotive journalism scene. He first started covering the automotive beat in 2003, writing news and reviews of new models and car tech, among other car-related stuff. When not writing about cars, he could often be seen riding his mountain bike or doing long walks in the hope of catching a couple of legendary Pokemons.