Toyota propels Malaysia’s Racing Talent
TOYOTA’S COMMITMENT TO MOTORPSPORTS CONTINUES TO PROPEL MALAYSIA’S RACING TALENT BOTH ON-TRACK AND ONLINE AS MUHAMMAD IQBAL SUJI EMERGES VICTORIOUS IN THE 5TH GR VELOCITY ESPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Conquering limits best describes Muhammad Iqbal Suji’s journey in pursuit of a title that had eluded him for years, as he powered to an emotional race victory to finally stake his claim to become champion of Season 5’s Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship.
Racing in front of a live audience and cheered by online racing fans, the 24-year-old from Selangor clinched the grand prize of RM20,000 cash to beat nine other finalists in a series of three races in the grand finale that demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism, sportsmanship and race craft in Malaysia’s best online racers.
“Toyota’s on-track and online racing activities are about empowering the dreams of individuals – propelling them to excel. The organizing of the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship gives those who excel online an ideal platform to further develop and unleash their fullest potential with some even transitioning into real racing,” said UMW Toyota Motor President, Ravindran K, adding that Toyota’s combination of physical and online racing since 2018 has given the company the opportunity to contribute immensely to greater promoting Malaysian motorsports.
Muhammad Iqbal will now have to put aside friendly rivalry to lead a three-man Malaysian team comprising of Muhammad Uzair and Taj Izrin Aiman Taj Madira who finished second and third in the championship respectively, to the regional finals of the Toyota GAZOO Racing GT Cup organized by Toyota Motor Asia Pacific (TMAP) to be held on 2 October. This also gives Team Malaysia the chance of going on to represent Asia in the Global finals to be held in Monaco on 25 November.
“Winning the event made me recall all the emotions and frustrations of not getting the position that I felt I deserved over the last few years and now that I finally have, it feels great and steaming hot!,” said Muhammad Iqbal.
The three-race grand finale showdown began with a 15-minute sprint Race 1 at Brazil’s 4.309km Autodromo Interlagos which saw two-time defending champion Taj Izrin Aiman winning and taking an early lead in the overall point standings. In second place was Muhammad Iqbal while finishing third was Muhammad Uzair.
In Race 2, which was also held at Interlagos, the 30-minute session was decided in the last very last lap with 29-year-old Muhammad Uzair keeping his cool until the penultimate moments of the race to get ahead of race leader Dhanesh Wigneswaran. That race however, proved disastrous for Taj Izrin Aiman who ran as high as fourth position before finishing seventh.
“I really expected Muhammad Iqbal and Taj Izrin Aiman to be ahead. I just tried all out without thinking too much,” said Uzair who made the most of traffic on the track to inch his way ahead of the field. That race victory had momentarily placed him in the lead of the overall point standings with one final race to complete.
Race 3 proved to be the hardest fought 40-minutes with racers getting behind the wheel of a 1,000bhp Toyota TS050 Hybrid around the 7.004 km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. In the end it was Muhammad Iqbal who drove to a classy and composed race victory, finishing 8 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor on the track, Taj Izrin Aimar, and Muhammad Uzair in third.
“In Race 3, I made a critical mistake and I overshot the first corner. That disrupted the momentum for my race. I’ve driven my best, and I would like to thank UMW Toyota Motor for continuing to organize the championship and congratulate Muhammad Iqbal who drove to a remarkable championship victory,” said Taj Izrin Aiman.
The grand finale weekend also featured four exhibition races involving drivers and celebrities competing in the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Challenge race series; members of the media, invited gamers; and young drivers in the Vios Challenge rookie class.
The celebrity race was won by actor Zizan Razak, followed by presenter Nabil Ahmad and another actor Shukri Yahaya, who coincidentally also happen to be the top three contenders in the Promotional Class of the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Challenge racing series. The Vios Challenge rookies meanwhile, saw four young drivers: Adele Lew, Nabil Azlan, Sharique Zulqarnain and Muizz Musyaffa taking up the challenge.
For more information, visit the UMWT website at www.toyota.com.my
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