The Vios Challenge, which is part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) festival, will be heading to Johor next week for the series’ third round. The event will be held at Medini City, Iskandar Puteri from January 19-20.

The first race was in Batu Kawan (Penang) in August, followed by the second round in MAEPS (Klang Valley) in November. We’re now entering into the second half of the series, but with plenty of points still up for grabs and no runaway leader in sight, the racing will be fierce.

By nature of its street racing format where each circuit layout is completely new to every driver, and the fact that each Toyota Vios race car is built equal, drivers have only their skills and bravery gain an advantage. As a result, there has been no shortage of door-to-door racing and heart-stopping moments even.

“When we created the Vios Challenge, we expected to develop the level of competition gradually but as we’ve witnessed from the very first race in Batu Kawan, spectators and drivers have been treated to a very high level of competition in all the three classes of the Vios Challenge. It has been spectacular to say the least and it is a must-attend for every motor racing fan who wants to watch high quality motor racing,” said UMW Toyota Motor president Ravindran Kurusamy.

While the early races in the Promotional Class (a.k.a. Celebs Class) were dominated by Shawn Lee, a rare mistake by the beatboxer at MAEPS saw him spin out on the opening lap. Shukri Yahaya was well-placed to capitalise for a victory, putting the actor just five points behind Lee, while Danny Koo is third, 14 points adrift. All have a mathematical chance to emerge as champion, as does Diana Danielle in fourth.

In the Sporting Class, the KL race saw new faces on the top step of the podium for both heats. Brendan Anthony enjoyed a dream debut by putting his Dream Chaser team car on pole and taking it to its maiden win. In the second heat, it was Patrick Tam of Team Nanoplus who turned the tables on the youngster by taking his first win in the series.

With consistent finishes in Batu Kawan and MAEPS, Brandon Lim of Tedco Racing now leads the series with 57 points and holds a 10-point advantage over Ken Foo who struggled to find pace in KL. Tam is a further point behind with Kenneth Koh, Brendan Anthony and Jackson Tan all within striking distance should any of the top runners falter.

In the premier Super Sporting Category, the field is even tighter with seven drivers separated by a 20-point gap. Tengku Djan leads the table despite claiming just nine points from MAEPS, but the pack made up of Mitchell Cheah, William Ho, Mark Darwin, Shafiq Ali, Boy Wong and Ser Ming Hui have a mathematical chance of dethroning the “Prince of Drift” on the faster and wider Medini City circuit.

To further spice things up, rain is expected and conditions will be tricky for the racers. As always, entrance to the TGR festival is free and activities start from 9am till 6.30pm daily. Check out our race report and live snaps from previous rounds in Batu Kawan and MAEPS Serdang.

GALLERY: Toyota Gazoo Racing festival at MAEPS Serdang