While the MTC and SP2 categories are main show in the Sepang 1000km, the Vios Enduro Cup is just as exciting as the other classes as well. The evenly-matched cars are a perfect recipe for close racing and with a growing entry of 14 cars this year, it was a tougher challenge for returning class champions to defend the title.
Mirza Syahmi and Aiman Haziq had more than just the field to worry about as they also had two new teammates joining in this 2022 chapter. Brothers Khair Nur Adi and Khair Nur Adli are far from strangers to Sepang Circuit, but it was their first time driving a Toyota Vios cup car which comes with its own set of challenges.
“Driving the Vios is more driver related. Because it is a stock car, there isn’t much adjustments that can be made. It is fun, and you need to challenge yourself to get the maximum out of the car and finding the fine details to make it a perfect lap”, said Adi.
“It’s a new platform for me, driving a Vios. Before this, I drove race cars like the Civic FD2, the Jazz and the Swift, and driving a Vios is a big difference from the others,” said Adli.
But the transition from driving cars in the MCS to the Vios Cup car was made easy with pointers from fellow Vios Challenge racer Mirza who competed in the series for a few seasons. With the brothers knowing their way around a race car, getting acquainted to the Vios was not a big challenge.
“Throughout the testings, we exchanged feedbacks, studying the onboard footages. Surprisingly, they caught up really quick, and getting up to par with my timing,” shared Mirza.
Although Mirza and Aiman drove together before, this will be their first rodeo with Adi and Adli. Sharing the race seat is never going to be easy as different drivers have different preferences, and some compromise might be needed to perform as a team.
But it was a good chemistry between these four drivers, especially when everyone generally had the same driving character, making it “easier for us to strategise our race because every driver is consistent and experienced,” said Adi.
As returning champions, it was both nerve wracking and exciting for them to return to the arena and defend the title. In a grid where the competition nearly doubled in numbers, it was not going to be an easy fight, but they had their sights trained on the top positions.
“This time we have 14 cars compared to eight last time, so the competition is tougher. 23 Motors also showed great pace during qualifying, but race pace is something different. Last year, one of the main reasons for our win was because we had a clean race,” recalled Aiman on his 2021 S1K class win.
This time, the S1K was flagged off in the morning with the race ending 8 hours and 32 minutes with Tengku Djan and Naquib Azlan taking the win. The guys in the #8 Vios fought their rivals lap after lap, swapping the race lead with 23 Motors’ entries throughout the race.
With the safety car bringing all sorts of randomness into the event, the Vios Enduro Cup win was the #23 23 Motors’ to claim, and the #8 Carroof Motorsport of Mirza Syahmi, Aiman Haziq, Khair Nur Adi and Khair Nur Adli brought home a third place finish after 165 laps of racing.
It was undoubtedly a tough race, especially when 13 out of 68 cars failed to finish the race. It might be a bummer for the team to miss out on the top spot of the podium, but the pace and teamwork they displayed throughout the race weekend showed that they have what it takes to be champions, and we can bet that they will return on the 2023 edition with one thing in mind – reclaiming the win in the Vios Enduro Cup.