A Successful 2019 For Growl-Thule in the Giti-Formula V1 Challenge and Vios Circuit Championship

The Growl-Thule Racing Team had a hectic 2019 as they competed in two series simultaneously: the Giti-Formula V1 Challenge’s Pro Class and the Vios Circuit Championship’s flagship Sporting Class. The team’s hard work was rewarded with two overall wins to their name–and both Jussi Hoikka and Red Diwa’s successful campaigns played out in similar circumstances during a very competitive season of racing!

Jussi Hoikka’s Road to Third in Formula V1

The AM Class champion of the homegrown formula series’ 2018 debut, Jussi Hoikka’s move into the Pro Class was met with some growing pains from his car. During Round 1 in May, an epic overnight effort was required from the team to repair his V1’s transmission and steering issues. The all-nighter paid off as the Growl-Thule driver took home a best result of third in Race 3–marking his arrival into the highest tier of racing in the country. “Wow, this weekend has been intense but this race was the most intense wheel-to-wheel I’ve ever had I think…and the closest racing and greatest fun I’ve had!”

A dramatic mid-season encounter that saw rain fall for the final race of the weekend also saw the points table truly take shape. The overall championship leaders were separated by a single point after Round 2, while Jussi was locked in a three-way battle for third with Raymond Ronquillo and Stefan Ramirez. The podium eluded the Finnish driver in July, the closest he got was during a very tight Race 5 battle with Raymond Ronquillo. The drivers swapped positions several times with his Frontrow rival just edging him out to third place.

The stakes were high in October and the opening Race 7 featured a multiple-car crash right off the starting line as the contenders were going truly all-out. Luckily, Jussi avoided the chaos and drove a clean race into an important third place. With no mathematical winner yet after the following Race 8, the Race 9 finale would decide who claimed third in the overall championship. Jussi fought hard for several laps versus Stefan Ramirez but the Ensport driver managed to make the pass on the very last lap to get third place. However, Jussi had done over the season to claim the title by one point, 106 to 105.

The Growl-Thule driver’s consistency and constant points finishes throughout the season were the crucial difference versus Ramirez and Ronquillo’s DNF’s and penalties.

“The 2019 season saw lots of exciting and very close racing–especially with my fellow contenders for the overall third place such as Stefan Ramirez, Raymond Ronquillo and Paolo Mantolino. Finding the ideal setup for each race and focusing on consistency was indeed our entire team’s main focus. Big thanks to the dedicated mechanics of PartsPro Racing and coach Edgen Dy-Liacco of Edgesport for this result!”

Red Diwa Secures the Vios Circuit Championship

Immediately after his Formula V1 debut for OTR Racing in the AM Class, Growl-Thule announced that Red Diwa would be returning to Toyata’s one-make series under their team banner. A veteran of 2018’s Sporting Class, the format change and removal of the Super Sporting bracket meant Red would be competing in the fastest tier of Vios racing.

June’s season opener saw Red place 3rd, 2nd, and 4th in the first three races of the Sporting Class. The weekend saw no less than seven drivers finishing in the top spots–a sharing of points that blew the season wide-open extremely early on!

The mid-season race usually sees dramatic battles in the rain, and Round 2 in August did not disappoint. Red claimed 1st in the dry weekend opener, before being out-paced by Eggy Ong in a rain-soaked Race 6. The second-place finish behind the Toyota San Fernando driver meant Growl-Thule’s driver was sitting six points behind Ong who moved into the championship lead.

Coming into the final round of the Vios Circuit Championship in November with the 2019 Formula V1 AM Class crown to his name, Red could only manage third in Race 7. However, Ong finished in a lowly eighth place which drastically cut his points lead. Ong struck back by finishing fourth over Red’s fifth in Race 8 which meant everything was on the line for the final grid of the season.

During Race 9, it looked like Red weakly yielded first to a rampaging John Dizon–who had passed five cars in the process–but he later revealed it was his goal to simply take the car home safely as a second place finish was enough to secure him the overall win.

“Last year I won 4 out of 9 races–but I still lost the championship because I was not consistent. Winning is just one race and not the same as winning the whole series yet. So this season what I did is work on my consistency. Never mind if I don’t win always–I’ve only won once–but I’m still challenging for the championship.”

Consistency Wins Championships

Both Growl-Thule drivers proved that consistency is the key during a full race season. While driving as hard as possible to climb up another place is always tempting for any racer, Jussi and Red’s experience has taught them that finishing a position down, securing the points, and going for steady overall progress in the table is smarter than eliminating yourself while going flat out.

And with how Jussi went from AM Class champ to Pro Class and overall third-place in V1, and Red getting a double trophy season–it’s a story of steady progress for Growl-Racing Team as a whole too. 2020 can’t come soon enough for them!

Growl Corporation is one of the largest developers and distributors of first-class OEM in-dash Audio, Video and Navigation (AVN) systems. Our product, the Growl Audio Head Unit is customized for different car models.

Thule Sport & Cargo Systems, on the other hand, is exclusively distributed by Tow & Stow Industries, Inc. They are an importer, distributor, and manufacturer of vehicle towing products such as hitch receivers (TOTALHITCH™ brand), trailers (TOTALTRAILERS™ brand) and accessories.

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