The 2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Challenge Season 4 is a season to remember where it was held entirely at Sepang’s North Circuit, and also featured the first-ever night race. The lights of Sepang Circuit provided the perfect atmosphere to round up the season which saw both familiar and new faces taking the championship titles of their respective classes.

Sporting Class Title is Clement Yeo’s to Claim

The closing race for the Sporting category was nothing short of dramatic where the damp track brought an extra challenge to the racers. It was such a melee that only 12 cars survived the race from the 18 that started. And from the 12, it was Clement Yeo who shined as he did not only win the race, but also clinched the title for Season 4.

Yeo made a terrific start from P5 which brought him right behind Kenneth Koh, before passing him to take the lead. As he tried to distance himself from his pursuer, the battle for the remaining podium spot had ended with a number of cars getting pelted off the track, bringing out the safety car.

While this might be the opportunity for Koh to regain the lead, it was Bradley Benedict Anthony who stoled the limelight when the race resumed. After overtaking Ady Rahimi for third place, he continued his momentum to steal Koh’s position, taking P2 in the final race.

Yeo kept a firm grasp on his P1 to seal his position as the overall champion for Sporting, bringing home the grand prize of RM50,000.

Shukri Yahya Wins After Four Seasons

Moving into the final round, there was only a one-point difference between Shukri Yahya and Zizan Razak. Initially it seemed like the final race was Zizan’s to claim as he led the field from Shukri, with Khai Bahar running in third. Zizan kept the lead for five laps until he ran a bit too wide, opening the window for Shukri and Khai to overtake him.

With Zizan no longer posing an immediate threat to him, Shukri had to defend against Khai who seemed to have the better pace that night. There was almost no gap between these two until the checkered flag where Khai was just 0.3 seconds away from Shukri when they finished the race.

However, Shukri’s joy in winning the race was short-lived when a penalty had pushed him down to second place, giving the win to Khai instead. But even in second place, the 89 points Shukri had gathered was enough for him to secure the class title after four seasons of competing in the Vios Challenge.

Moment of Glory for Naquib Azlan

Round 3 was never going to be easy for Naquib Azlan, especially on the final race where he had to carry a total of 60kg of ballast. Starting from pole in the final race, Putera Adam was able to wrestle his way through to take the win in Race 2 where Naquib took home second place. However, the second place finish was more than enough for the youngster to be crowned as the very first Rookie Class champion.

“It was a dream come true. Never did I expect to enter racing in real life and to have been able to perform as well as I did. I am extremely thankful. I have to say a very big thank you to Toyota for having the trust in me and giving us the opportunity, the team, to Alex Yoong who helped all of the rookies throughout the entire journey. This is something that no other manufacturer has done and to represent Toyota is such an honor. I look forward to doing this again next season,” said Naquib.

Tengku Djan Clinches Third Title!

The battle of Super Sporting was intense up to the final race where the top three drivers were still in contention for the championship. In a very tight battle between 23 Motor’s Mitchell Cheah and Tengku Djan Ley, the young driver was able to hold off the Prince of Drift throughout the 20-laps of the final race to take the checkered flag. Telagamas Toyota’s Freddie Ang took third place.

Unfortunately for Mitchell, a post-race penalty had dropped him to second place, promoting Djan as the winner. With 84 points in hand, Djan secured his third Super Sporting class overall championship as well as the RM 70,000 prize.

“We could not have asked for a more exciting finish to the season,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia Chief Motorsports Officer, Akio Takeyama.

“Faced with an incredibly challenging season as a result of the global pandemic, we are thankful that we were able to conclude the championship. The introduction of a night race also made the Vios Challenge even more unpredictable and quite a spectacle enjoyed by both drivers and spectators.

“I would like to thank all the drivers, teams, sponsors, business associates and all personnel involved in the series for their continue support. We will be back next season, and hopefully in an even bigger way!”

The Minister of Youth & Sports Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Ahmad Faizal Bin Dato’ Azumu was also present, meeting some of the drivers and commended UMW Toyota Motor’s involvement in Malaysian motorsports.

“This is an initiative that is being done independently of any Government support or financial assistance. While UMW Toyota Motor and the brand may have its own objectives to fulfill, it has successfully been able to do so while giving so much back to Malaysian motorsports. I’m not only referring to the racing that takes place on the track, but also in terms of giving the motorsports economy a big boost because events like these create both business and employment opportunities for those in the industry.”