Flying fenders, spinning cars, wagging tongues

By Tessa Salazar September 20,2017


The wet track made the races more challenging and unpredictable. PHOTOS COURTESY OF

Without a doubt, the third leg of the 2017 Vios Cup, Toyota Motor Philippines’ centerpiece motorsport event provided ample action on the challenging Clark International Speedway.

But there were also some goings-on off the track—and even in social media—that spiced up the event. Well, that’s if you decided to watch the races in the VIP holding area reserved for motoring media.

So, amid the fender benders, barrier crashes, and the metal-crunching jockeying for positions among the racers captured on camera and projected onto the giant screen at the VIP/media holding area, there were quite interesting sidelights directly related to the race. We just had to keep our ears open.

Tongues were wagging about a lot of things: betrayals involving a mechanic, accusations of cheating, including a case of engine-swapping, race penalties involving well-known racing personalities, mishaps requiring “further investigation,” and millions of pesos mysteriously changing hands.

Of course, all of it was just that: simple gossip—unverified and unverifiable—unless someone from the inside would come out and spill the beans. But that may be asking too much.


Big winner Dom Ochoa

The races themselves outdid the previous leg, hands down. Thanks to some heroic individual efforts (mainly from the Super Sporting Class), both audiences on the stands and inside the two VIP rooms (the other was reserved for company bigwigs) got their time’s worth.

But if there was one driver who stood out on race day Sept. 16, it would have to be comebacking veteran racer Dominic Ochoa who, in Car 25, dominated the Super Sporting Class like it was nobody else’s business.

He piled up the accolades, as well, bagging Driver of the Day, Slingshot King (jumping nine spots up), and Overall Champion. Ochoa personified the combination of guts and skill.

His back story makes his feat last weekend even more admirable.

Autocar Philippines managing editor Eggay Quesada, a friend of Ochoa, related in his online article, “What happened to Team Delta?” posted last Aug. 19 how Ochoa’s team TQA Team Delta (of Toyota Quezon Avenue) was conspicuously absent after the opening round (Leg 1) of the Vios Cup this year.


Celebrity racers

It turns out that a disagreement occurred between Ochoa’s teammate Allan Uy and his team principal Franklin Lim of TQA, resulting in the dissolution of the team, and its absence from Leg 2.

Then this Saturday, Lim and TQA rejoined the series with Ochoa and fellow racer Miko Maristela.

Uy also rejoined the series on his own Vios racing car, albeit, according to Quesada, “going solo with support coming from what he said were his silent partners.”

Uy was the Super Sporting Class champion in the 2016 Vios Cup. Uy and Ochoa are veteran karters.

Among the numerous edge-of-your-seat highlights during the second race in the Super Sporting Class was Uy’s #1 car spinning 180-degrees, and the devil-may-care moves of Keith Bryan Haw (in #32).


Racers in the four different classes gather on stage

In Race 1 of the Sporting Class, Vios Cup veteran Ferdinand Raquelsantos (#78) of Toyota Makati went head-to-head with Tonton Ramos (#33) of Toyota San Fernando, with the former’s rear bumper flapping out like an angry goose about to pounce on Ramos.

In his Facebook post last Sunday, Raquelsantos explained that he got rear-ended several times, and wrote in jest that “the drivers behind me got distracted reading my sponsors’ stickers.”

In Race 2 of the Celebrity/Promotional Class, the usual 12 laps were reduced to seven because of a sudden heavy downpour, which resulted in Brian Currie of Toyota Cebu totaling his car (#91) after spinning out onto the concrete barrier, and TV personality Ella Cruz withdrawing from the race for undisclosed reasons.

Video footage showed a visibly distraught Cruz being consoled and reassured by team managers and coaches at the paddock.

Relative newbie Marc Soong (#77) of the Team Obengers’ Promotional Class placed third in this race, after taking pole position in the Sept. 15 qualifiers.


Marc Soong of the Obengers celebrates his podium finish.

Soong, executive director of Autostrada Motore Inc., official dealer of Ferrari in the Philippines, has said during the past Vios Cup leg that he could be preparing himself for a stint in the Ferrari Cup.

The wet track also forced racing management to reduce the duration from 12 laps to seven for Race 2 of the Sporting and Super Sporting Classes.

Here are the official results of Leg 3 of the 2017 Vios Cup:

Super Sporting Class

Round 1:

1. Dominic Ochoa (25) of TQA

2. Jette Calderon (42) of Toyota Cebu/GM Motorsports

3. Keith Bryan Haw (32) of Obengers

Round 2:

1. Calderon

2. Ochoa

3. Haw

Sporting Class

Round 1:

1. Mark Sy (46) of Toyota San Pablo

2. Paulo Agregado (52) of Obengers

3. Aira Medrano (18) of Toyota Alabang

Round 2:

1. Sean Velasco (70) of Toyota Cebu

2. Lord Seno (43) of Toyota Cebu

3. Oscar Suarez (80) of Toyota Cebu

Promotional Class

Round 1:

Willem Waltheer (58) of GM Motorsports

2. Arbie Jacinto (64) of Toyota San Fernando

3. Vincent Courcol (#66) of AP Corse/Toyota Makati

Round 2:

1. Roy Bunag (69) of Toyota Bacoor/Flashback Racing

2. Courcol

3. Marc Soong (77) of Obengers

Celebrity Class

Round 1:

1. Fabio Ide (5)

2. Dominic Roque (10)

3. Jasmine Curtis-Smith (2)

Round 2:

1. Roque

2. Ide

3. Troy Montero (6).


Senator JV Ejercito

The Vios Cup is a grassroots-level racing competition spearheaded by Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP).

Catering to car enthusiasts 15 years and up, the Vios Cup has been designed for nonprofessionals, making it a platform for first-time racers.

The Vios Cup showcases the waku-doki (heart-racing fun) and QDR (quality, durability and reliability) delivered by the Vios subcompact sedan.

The Vios OMR (one-make race) sedan, priced at P1.195 million, is a 1.5 G M/T variant with several TRD modifications on the intake, exhaust, suspension and race standard safety equipment inside.

This is available for sale only for those who participate in the Vios Cup, and is not an additional variant to the Vios’ current lineup.

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