Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Sprint Cup Round 2 – Eddie Lew, Putera Adam win Race 1 in rain-soaked Sepang –

The Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Sprint Cup made its return last weekend to the Sepang International Circuit, where competitors of the Vios Challenge one-make racing series take to the circuit to race in an extended format.

Race 1 of Round 2 was won by the Laser Motor Racing duo of Eddie Lew and Putera Adam, braving heavy rain and therefore extremely wet track conditions ahead of Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel and Mika Hakimi of Prima Pearl TD Racing, with the podium completed by Freddie Ang and James Liam Russell of Telagamas Toyota Racing.

Lew and Putera’s Laser Motor Racing team mate Mark Darwin had a strong start, beginning from fifth on the starting grid and grabbing the race lead in the opening stages with Lew following closely in P2, while William Ho of Toyotsu Racing and Hayden Haikal of Axle Sports gave chase from third and fourth, respectively.

Darwin held on to the race lead for the first six laps, though the gap to the second-placed racer was not more than two seconds, and eventually Hayden Haikal took the lead by lap seven of the race. The second stint saw Naquib Azlan take over from Hayden in the #17 Axle Sports car which continued to hold the race lead, and the young duo appeared to be en route to another tidy finish.

Blue skies didn’t last long; rain paused action momentarily in Race 1

It wasn’t to be this time around, as just three laps from the finish Naquib tangled with the #68 car of Team Fokus driven by Vincent Ng, which resulted in Ng spinning off track and Naquib requiring an unscheduled pit stop for a puncture due to contact between the two cars. At this point, Putera had taken over from Lew in the Laser Motor car, taking the race lead which was then sustained to become a race win.

The reshuffling of the order from the on-track action also saw the Prima Pearl TD Racing duo come back into podium contention, where Tengku Djan took over from Mika Hakimi on Lap 10 and put in an exemplary performance in the wet conditions to yield a second-placed finish for the team.

“We had a gearbox issue during the qualifying stint and maybe that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Mika started the race and he did a great job of holding the pace in his stint. I basically had to put it together, keep my calm and take it to the finish line. It was a great team effort,” Djan said of his experience in Race 1.

The Telagamas Toyota Racing duo of Freddie Ang and James Liam Russell put in a strong performance to finish P3, having started from sixth place on the grid.

“[Round 2 of the Vios Sprint Cup] was my first time back racing and also my first time racing in the wet. I didn’t bother trying to fight the top two cars. In the first few laps I was well off the pace and I did my best to just try to follow them and learn my way around the track,” Russell said.

The Vios Sprint Cup complements, and is independent of the Vios Challenge, even if racers also compete in identical examples of the Toyota Vios which use the factory-standard engine, transmission and suspension as well as identical tyres and fuel to ensure parity.

Instead of the half-track format run on the North Circuit of SIC for the Vios Challenge, the Vios Sprint Cup takes on the full, 5.543 km-long circuit with 15 turns, and runs for a full one hour with a mandatory three-minute pit stop and driver change.

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