Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival Round 3 action at the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang.

Round 3 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival and Toyota Vios Challenge street racing series concluded with two days of dramatic street circuit racing action at the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang. The Super Sporting, Sporting and Promotional classes for professional, amateur and celebrity racers respectively had more than 15,000 spectators over the two days at the edge of their seats.

In the Promotional Class for celebrities, performer Shawn Lee, actor Shukri Yahaya and television presenter Nabil Ahmad proved simply too strong for the grid of 11 drivers.

Shawn was clearly the fastest man on the track over the two-day race weekend, starting from pole position in Race 1 to storm to victory ahead of Nabil and Shukri. The three drivers were again back on the podium in Race 2, but this time it was Shukri who claimed his first victory of the season, ahead of Nabil and Shawn in third position.

Race 1 was started under safety car conditions due to rain but quickly got underway after 6 laps with the top three drivers pulling away from the other competitors.

Lee however, was made to work harder for his podium position in Race 2, and it wasn’t until 4 laps to the finish of the 20-lap race that he successfully pressured actress Janna Nick into making a mistake to slip into third position. Singer Nabila Razali meanwhile, stamped her authority as the fastest lady driver on the track, finishing fourth in Race 1 ahead of fellow singer Wany Hasrita and Janna in sixth. She went on to take a solid fifth position in Race 2 finishing behind Season 2 and defending Promotional Class champion actress Diana Danielle.

Competition in the Sporting Class meanwhile, was even more nail-biting as both races produced a roller-coaster action to the finish. In Race 1, Aylezo Motorsports’ Mirza Syahmi Mahzan made a brilliant start from pole position to lead the 22-lap race from S&D Motorsports’ Hayden Haikal, Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh and Crestmax Motorsports’ Adam Khalid.

Race 2 was filled with trials and tribulations, with two safety car incidents that eventually decided how the race would end. Starting at the front of the grid, S&D Tama Motorsports’ Tom Goh led into the first corner ahead of Dream Chaser’s Bradley Benedict Anthony, Crestmax Motorsports’ Adam Khalid, SMS Motorsports’ Haji Sutan Mustaffa Salihin and Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh. The race however, was prematurely stopped in the second lap after a 6-car pile-up. At the restart which was held behind the safety car, 4 of the 16 cars had been eliminated.

As the final stages of the race unfolded, the safety car appeared for a second time. This virtually erased whatever gap Goh had worked so hard to establish and with two laps to finish, Bradley Benedict mounted a last minute challenge which put him into the lead just two corners from the chequered flag to claim his first race victory of the season. Goh settled for second place with Haji Sutan coming in third.

In the Super Sporting Class for the professionals, 23 Motors’ Tengku Djan Ley put on an extraordinary demonstration of skill to lead Race 1 from pole position to finish 5 seconds clear of Laser Motor Racing’s Mark Darwin and Dream Chaser’s Brendan Paul Anthony.

That proved to be absolutely true when Tengku Djan pushed a little too hard in the very first lap of Race 2 and brushed the concrete barrier. A damaged right rear wheel forced him to pit and rejoining the race two laps down essentially concluded his challenge. Freddie Ang driving for Telagamas Toyota clinched the win ahead of Toyotsu’s William Ho and defending champion Boy Wong.

Meanwhile, UMW Toyota Motor President Ravindran K. said Season 3 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival and Toyota Vios Challenge underlined the auto company’s commitment to bring motorsports to the masses and to demonstrate the capabilities of Toyota cars in an extreme proving ground.

For fans in Penang, the excitement of the TGR Festival included the display and test drive of Toyota’s fleet of new vehicles, a drift performance by Japanese drifters, a racing simulator challenge, stage games, celebrity performances, promotional activities, lucky draws, the sale of merchandises, and a Super Fans Signing Session for a chance to mingle with the celebrities racing in the Promotional class. Also on display was the Toyota GR Supra.

“The finale of Season 3 will move from the street circuits of Kuala Terengganu, Bandar Malaysia and Penang to the Sepang International Circuit. With a wider and high speed track, we expect the race for the championship in all three categories to be nothing short of exhilarating,” said UMW Toyota Motor Chief Motorsports Officer Akio Takeyama.