Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino
THE much-awaited Vios Cup’s first race of the season finally kicked off. And not even the blistering heat stopped spectators from pouring in to cheer for their favorites, particularly the new celebrity drivers.
So much action was seen during the closing rounds that the recently concluded initial leg was all about capturing the top spot. As expected, it turned out to be as riveting as the previous races.
Celebrity and promotional classes
The mixed divisions started the first round with an early scuffle for the lead between lady driver Evelyn Coseteng and new driver Don Vic Portugal. Coseteng managed to pull off a great maneuver, which gave her the second spot in the early laps. That went on steady until the end of the round. Still getting the feel of the actual race and the intense grid battle, the three new celeb drivers (Gretchen Ho, Aubrey Miles and Ella Cruz) maintained their positions at the last all throughout.
During the second round, it became more exciting, starting off with the reverse grid with several actions and slowdowns. This time, it was a wrestle for the lead position between Red Diwa and Roy Bunag. In the midst of the forceful round, new driver Marc Soong suddenly came out from nowhere and made his way through a series of overtakes and landed in the top 5. With six laps to go, first-round leader Portugal found himself sidelined when his car stalled. Also, celeb driver Jasmine Curtis Smith experienced a slowdown with two laps to go. Jacinto and Bunag, on the other hand, kissed bumpers during their tough battle for the second spot.
First-round winners for the celebrity class were Fabio Ide, (first place), Smith (second) and Dominic Roque (third). As for the following round, Roque took the top spot, followed by Smith and Ide respectively. In the promotional class, first-round winners were Portugal (first), Coseteng (second) and Jacinto (third). The following round was a complete turnaround, with Diwa on top, Bunag in second and again Jacinto in third.
The initial round for the sporting class saw a tough contest between four participants, namely, Tonton Ramos, Paul Lomax, Mark Sy and young lady driver Aira Medrano. This went on until the end, but Medrano fell short to make it on the top 3. The opening-round top spot was awarded to Ramos, followed by Lomax in second and Sy earning the third place.
But the following round saw an entirely different scenario with more intense encounters and mishaps. Just several laps passed, Lomax’s car collided with Paul Henderson Perez’s, resulting in the former completely sidelined for the round. Perez continued to race despite a displaced rear bumper. But the fender-bender action prompted for the safety car to control the pace, until the stalled car was taken out of the track. But as soon as the pace resumed, Hernandez and Sy battled it out for the lead. Several cars in succession also involved in some near-mishap scenarios, as if they were the ones actually battling for the top spot.
With few laps remaining, it was Lord Seno, whose been trailing from behind, managed to slice through from the inside lane and finally took the lead. The other two, however, while nearly scrambled battling for the lead, took the toll by creating a space for the trailing cars to pass. It was Seno who emerged as the winner, while Velasco managed to steal the second spot and Perez ended up in the third.
Super sporting class
Being the largest grid among all the classes, it was also the most competitive group displaying awesome racing skills. But this leg was clearly dominated by the young driver Daniel Miranda. At the beginning of its opening round, there was already a rear-ender incident, leaving one car’s rear bumper hanging on. But several laps to go, three cars were involved in a pile-up, which sidelined three drivers, including Dominic Ochoa and Jette Calderon. The next round saw Andres Calma fought it out to make it to the hotly contested third spot. Ochoa, with his car remarkably brought back to life, made it back to the second round to race again, but failed to make it to the top 3.
In the end, Miranda brought home the champion trophy for both rounds and, likewise, for Allan Uy, who secured the second spot. Gerard Loy and Calma took the third spot for the opening and succeeding rounds, respectively.