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Toyota Team Cebu nabs 'Team Award' as TGR Vios Cup returns in 2023

Although it only felt like yesterday, it’s hard to believe that 5 long years have passed since Toyota Team Cebu (TTC) last won a Team Award in the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Vios Cup. That’s why it was such a special moment when these fine gentlemen from the Queen City of the South echoed the achievement in 2023 during the season opener at the Clark International Speedway (CIS).

With its 6 driver lineup, distributed equally between the Super Sporting, Sporting, and Promotional Classes, TTC would come home with 5 wins and 4 podiums in total from 2 days of racing.

Super Sporting Class
Competing against the fastest drivers in the TGR Vios Cup is never easy. Lord Seno and Ian Rosales found this out the hard way as they fought from the tail end of the field. Ian ended up P6 in Qualifying but finished his first ever Super Sporting race in 8th with the Team Captain struggling for grip in 9th. Setup changes helped improve their pace in Race 2, but did not translate into results. Ian suffered a DNF on lap 5, while Lord made it to the end in 8th.

Refusing to give up, Ian bounced back hard in Race 3. The reigning Philippine GT 150 Champion forced his way from last place all the way to the front by the time the chequered flag drop. His heroic drive earned him very his first class victory, while setting the fastest lap of the race.

Sporting Class
Russel Cabrera and Alan Palacios proved to be a potent combo in the Sporting Class. Russel set the early pace by Qualifying with pole position while his teammate was right behind him on the grid in P3. The 18-year-old enjoyed a lights-to-flag victory in Race 1, winning the race by a huge 8.024 secs lead. His teammate Alan, on the other hand, was busy fighting for the last spot on the podium and secured a hard-earned 3rd place.

The reverse grid start in Race 2 saw Russel start from P6, while Alan was in P4. But it only took them a handful of laps to take the lead 1-2 for Toyota Team Cebu. However, this was short-lived after another driver tapped Alan’s rear bumper and sent him to the wall head-on. Russel then inherited P1 spot and earn his second win of the weekend.

Carrying a 60 kg success ballast and with teammate sidelined, Race 3 turned out to be the most challenging of all for Russel. It took a lot of work (with a bit of rubbing) to hold position and finish in 5th.

Promotional Class
Out of all TTC drivers, the pairing of Jarond Mesina and Paolo Ayo would yield the most number of trophies combined. Paolo impressively gained 2 spots in Race 1 to finish 2nd. Paolo in the #31 orange-and-blue TTC x Edgesport Vios OMR lost several places after a slow start, but did well to recover to 3rd place and share the podium with his teammate.

Race 2 was a fight for survival with half of the grid forced into retirement. Jarond and Paolo both managed to stay out of trouble to take the chequered flag in 1st and 3rd places, respectively giving TTC’s best result this season. It was a similar story in Race 3 with Jarond taking another victory in the Promotional Class. As for Paolo, he got a bit of a beating yet survived all the way to the finish to secure 4th place.

With a Team Award in the bag, Toyota Team Cebu (TTC) now looks forward to the second event of the 2023 TGR Vios Cup on the 7th/8th of September, still at the Clark International Speedway (CIS).

Lord Seno, Team Captain: “I would like to congratulate the whole team. We had so much energy going into the first round, so much passion, and so much hunger to win. The weekend was full of ups and downs. My heart goes out to Alan Palacios who crashed heavily while fighting for the lead. We’ll make sure that his car is back in shape in Round 2. To our Team Manager John Velaso, we also pray for tita Mary’s soul, may she rest in peace. Still, we have a lot of reason to celebrate with our haul of trophies including the Team Award.”

Toyota Team Cebu is done in collaboration with MRA Auto Parts and Edgesport, sponsored by Toyota Mandaue South, Standard Insurance, Bethel Insurance, BG Injector Cleaner, Vian-Son Automotive Services Inc., Solane LPG, Suarez and Sons Inc., 3M Philippines, Marina Foods, Bully Concepts, S&N Builders, Staging Lanes, and Cebu Protrade Industrial Corporation.

[Photo by James Morales Jr]

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Time Attack Manila

Time Attack Manila

Founded in late 2013, Time Attack Manila (TAM) is the only dedicated online magazine in the Philippines that focuses on local and international motorsports.
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Time Attack Manila

Time Attack Manila

Founded in late 2013, Time Attack Manila (TAM) is the only dedicated online magazine in the Philippines that focuses on local and international motorsports.
View All Posts