The final instalment of the inaugural Toyota Vios Challenge that took place in Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil over the weekend saw even more drama and action on race day. A massive crowd of over 20,000 showed up at the Gazoo Racing Festival season ender.

Just like the qualifying stage, the Sporting Class kicked things off with Brendan Paul Anthony of Dream Chaser (Car 22) and Brendon Lim of Tedco Racing (Car 86) taking the front row on the starting grid. At the lights, Brendan took off to a fantastic start, diving straight into Turn One and continued to control the entire heat.

Brendan Anthony wasn’t uncontested, though. Second-place Brendon Lim put up a fierce fight but scraped the outside wall at Turn Three, causing a drop in pace. Moments later, the safety car was deployed after Shanmuganathan Arumugam of Kashash Vina Motorsports (Car 69) crashed at Turn Four, promptly sending him into retirement.

Once the track was cleared and the safety car made its exit, the race resumed with five minutes left on the clock. Despite sustaining his earlier damage, Brendon Lim still managed to finish second, with Patrick Tam of Team Nanoplus (Car 13) coming in third. This meant that the points standings were reversed, favouring Brendan by just one point.

In Race Two, Brendan Paul remained in pole after winning the earlier round, with Brendon Lim and Patrick Tam in second and third respectively. However, the pole sitter who was trying to balance the biting point of the clutch was caught off guard when the lights went out, allowing Lim to win the sprint to Turn One.

By the second lap, Brendan Anthony executed a brave dive on the inside of the last turn and exchanged paintwork with Brendon Lim. Although contact was made, the move was deemed clean and the race stewards allowed the pass. Now in control, Brendan once again led the pack and went on to clinch the chequered flag. Just as before, Brendon finished in second and Patrick in third.

Next up is the Promotional Class. Shukri Yahaya (Car 24) started in pole after the shocking upset in qualifying, relegating Shawn Lee (Car 6) to second place. When the lights turned green, the front duo charged away from the pack, with Diana Danielle (Car 15) in third. Amazingly, she even managed to create a gap after pulling away from Danny Koo (Car 23) who was in fourth.

On the fifth lap, race leader Shukri had a comfortable lead with a gap of 1.4 seconds ahead of Shawn. However, Shawn found an opening in the final turn of lap eight, diving right on the inside of the right-hander to pass Shukri. Shawn went on to win the first heat with Shukri in second place. Diana maintained consistent pace and crossed the finish line in third.

After winning the first heat, Shawn took pole in Race Two and was expected to snatch an easy win. This time, things became more exciting – Shukri made an incredible pass on Shawn on the opening lap in Turn Two, while Fattah Amin (who started in fifth) made a move on Diana Danielle to snatch third.

Shawn soon suffered a mechanical problem with his car when the transmission refused to lock in third gear. He contemplated retiring after having to work with just gears one, two and four, but decided to finish the race despite losing pace every lap. This created an opening for Fattah Amin (Car 9) and Diana to overtake. Shukri took chequered flag (much to the delight of his fans), while Fattah Amin and Diana finished in second and third place respectively.

Last but certainly not least, the Super Sporting Class. Championship leader Tengku Djan (Car 12) started seventh on the grid while arch rival William Ho (Car 39) started in pole. Behind him were Kenny Lee (Car 38) in second, Boy Wong (Car 21) in third and Ser Ming Hui (Car 33) in fourth.

Ming Hui got off to a great start and relentlessly chased Boy Wong in the opening laps. Then, on Lap Seven, he took his chance in Turn Three to dive inside the ST Wangan driver but couldn’t manage a pass. Things weren’t looking too good for Tengku Djan when he started losing pace, and it was later revealed that he suffered a power loss from an engine rebuild the night before.

Battle for Boy Wong’s third place continued to the final lap when at Turn Three, Ming Hui took a gamble and dived on the inside. A penalty was imposed for making contact, and as a result he finished Race One in fourth. William won the race and was now leading Djan, who finished sixth, in the championship standings.

At this point, William had to finish no lower than third to secure the driver’s championship title, but Djan needed to win in order for him to be crowned champion. The start saw Djan and Mark Darwin make a perfect getaway as the lights went off, but Ming Hui once again made contact with William going into Turn One.

Challenged, William began giving chase and nudged Ming Hui into a spin on the back straight. By this time, Djan was already leading the race with a gap of over five seconds, ahead of second place Darwin. Djan went on to take the chequered flag with Mark Darwin in second. William came in third, but the race stewards later deemed the contact he made with Ming Hui earlier as “unsporting”, and was subsequently knocked down two spots in the final results.

This ultimately cost him the Super Sporting Class championship and Tengku Djan was crowned the first ever overall winner of the inaugural Toyota Vios Challenge. Djan and Brendan Anthony each won a brand new Vios, and the runner-ups in their respective category walked home with RM20,000 in cash.

That, ladies and gentlemen, wraps up the first season of the Toyota Vios Challenge. Shawn Lee said the motorsport series was a great platform for him to realise his childhood dream of being a racing driver. Fattah Amin also told the press that “if it wasn’t for Toyota, I wouldn’t have even dreamed of being in a race car.” As for the ladies? Well, Janna Nick said “motorsports is now my new sport.” Anyone looking forward to another season of the Vios Challenge?