Three first time winners in final round of Vios Cup 2016
The final round of Vios Cup Season 3 saw the championship leaders in a mad dash to the finish. Round 4 was packed with drama and wheel to wheel action and the weekend was vital to everyone in contention for the title as double points were awarded for the last race. When the dust settled, the season ender saw three new winners, namely Arbie Jacinto, Kiko Dysico and Steve Bicknell.
Grabbing pole for the Promotional class was Aira Medrano with a time of 2:27.858. Alongside her was Arbie Jacinto with the second fastest lap at 2:28.363 and qualifying third was Evelyn Coseteng, clocking in at 2:28.402.
The first lap saw a lot of action with drivers being shuffled out of position and, others, out of the race. Coseteng was moved out of the top five and Jacinto in fourth. Wilson Rivera was punted off the track while Darrel Garbes and Gally Angeles would go off at the exit of the big loop. Bobby Pangilinan would also have an off, bringing him down to last place. Gel Napat was also involved in the first lap fracas. There was confusion during the yellow flag which saw some drivers still running at race speed during the period. Medrano was punted from behind, sending her into the wall. The safety car was eventually brought out.
After the safety car period, it would be Kiko Dysico who inherited the lead and close behind was Oliver Matias. Oscar Suarez meanwhile was bouncing back from his 15th place start and was now in the top five. Dysico and Matias separated themselves from the rest of the pack as the duo were packed nose to tail. A daring move in the first turn saw the two nearly spinning out, allowing Jacinto to catch up. Jacinto capitalized on the incident, overtaking Matias then, on the second to the last lap, diving on Dysico to get his first Vios Cup win.
The second race would see more drama in the Promotional Class as Medrano needed to finish seventh or higher to be within a shot of the title. On launch, Jacinto would struggle off the line as he carried the heaviest ballast in the field. Inheriting the lead was Kiko Dysico, again followed closely by Matias. The field was packed during the opening half of race two with some gaining several positions in the rush. Jacinto would later fall outside the top five. Also lost in the shuffle was Suarez. Meanwhile, Medrano, starting from last place, was charging towards the top ten.
The race was calmer as the rest of the field were evenly spaced in the latter half. At the front however Dysico and Matias would continue to swap position for the lead. On the penultimate lap, Matias ran wide at Acacia, handing second to Red Diwa who was running quietly in third at the time. Willem Waltheer stuck close to Diwa to get third place. In a bit to regain some positions, Matias attempted to overtake Medrano, seventh at the time, at the Big Loop. The two made contact, sending Medrano to the grass but recovered with a 10th place finish. Dysico crossed the line first unchallenged, followed by Diwa in second and Waltheer in third.
In the Celebrity Class, Fabio Ide would outpace Jinno Rufino in both rounds, winning the celebrity class. Ide was even able to garner a top 5 finish in the second race.
Qualifying pole for the Sporting Class was Gerard Loy, clocking in at 2:26.601. Sharing the front row was Sam YG with a time of 2:27.421 and Mark Sy posted the third fastest lap at 2:27.741. Like the Promotional Class, it was mad dash to the first turn with Sam YG and Ton Ramos with a good start. Loy meanwhile had to hang back to avoid contact. Sean Velasco meanwhile lost ground on the top three and was soon sliding down the order.
Ramos briefly held the lead but ran wide at the bottom of the corkscrew, letting Sam YG, Sy and Loy through. Team mate Steve Bicknell had a good run on Ramos and the latter later conceded the position.
While fighting for the lead, Sy clipped the rear corner of Sam YG's car, nearly ending the latter's race. Fortunately for Sam YG, he was able to collect the car from the half spin but lostground to Sy and Loy. With Sy slower off the exit, Loy was able to sneak in to the inside at the hairpin and drove away with the lead. Eventually, Sam YG was able to catch up to Sy and overtake him. He was now in hot pursuit of Loy. Loy was able to defend his position and eventually won the race. In second was Sam YG and Mark Sy finished third.
Race 2 saw Steve Bicknell running to the front of the pack. With no ballast, he make a good launch and was wheel to wheel with the leaders by the first turn. The field entered turn 1 four wide and amazingly went through with no incidents. It would be Mark Sy and Sam YG trying to one-up each other yet again. Loy meanwhile slid down the order as he was carrying success ballast.
Further back, Ton Ramos would be held back by a flapping rear bumper, allowing Paolo Rodriguez to overtake his team mate. Loy meanwhile has staying put in fourth place. JV Ejercito was moving up the grid, recovering from his 14th place start and was well within the top ten. Ben Grimes had a close call at the exit of the big loop, running wide and into the sand trap. He kept his foot down as he crawled his way out of the sand and carried on.
By the closing stages of the race, Bicknell had opened up a lead of over two seconds and cruised to victory. Sam YG came in second, followed by Mark Sy in third.
Super Sporting Class
Bryan Co took pole for the Super Sporting Class with the fastest time of 2:25.843. Qualifying second was Dominic Ochoa by clocking in 2:25.927 and was followed by team mate Allan Uy with a time of 2:26.005. It was neck and neck when the green flag waved with Co clinging on to the lead. Making up places Daniel Miranda and Estefano Rivera and were making their way into the top ten. Points leader Andres Calma was fighting to stay in the top five to gather up points in the double points weekend.
As the race progressed, Uy was able to slingshot past Co with Ochoa in tow. Co got a better run towards Acacia and was able to reclaim second place. With the pack jostling for position, Uy was able to run away with the lead. Pauland Dumlao was later punted out but was able to continue racing. Miranda and Rivera continued their charge to the front as both drivers were inching closer to a top five finish. Calma meanwhile was uncharacteristically outside the top five for most of the race.
With Ochoa dispatched, Rivera soon had his sights on a podium finish with Co ahead. The fight for second was close with Co, Rivera, Miranda and Ochoa all in contention. Rivera was able to pass Co and, in an attempt to gain back the position, Co weaved to the right and forced Miranda, Ochoa and a fast moving Calma to take evasive action. The squabble for second place allowed Uy to run away with the lead and cruised to victory. Despite starting from 11th place, Rivera's efforts landed him a second place finish. Co held off Miranda for the final podium spot in third.
Andres Calma had to work his way up from a seventh place finish to clinch the championship and it was a rough start for the points leader when he was relegated to 14th on the opening lap. Allan Uy also struggled in the second race, bunching up the field resulting into contact among the racers. Down in fifth place, Uy made a daring move that saw him going through a tight gap to position himself better at the Porsche hairpin. Out of the chaos, it would be Estefano Rivera in front as everyone else fought for second place.
The result of the first lap jam ended up with Bryan Co out of contention for most of the race. Uy's success ballast hurt his chances for a back to back win as he slid down the order. Opposite of Uy was Carlos Loinaz, who was moving up the grid as the race went on. With Uy's struggles, Daniel Miranda was able to find a way through the rush and eventually found himself in second place. Another driver making up places was Basti Escalante, making up several positions and was set for a podium finish.
Calma meanwhile made a brilliant recovery, passing cars almost every lap. He soon set his sights on his closest rival in points, Uy, and was able to pass him after a good exit. Calma then overtook Ochoa, then Ronquillo and was now in fifth place. Towards the end of the race, the field was more spread out and Rivera eventually taking the win. Over three seconds behind was Miranda and Escalante crossed the line in third. As for Calma, he finished fifth, ahead of Uy and potentially securing his second title.
And that wraps up yet another season of Vios Cup. While the champions have yet to be officially announced, Calma's dominant run this year may see Vios Cup's very first back to back champion. This year's Vios Cup saw many outstanding drives from both rookies and veterans. As the series continues to grow, there may be more to look forward to in 2017.