What happened to Team Delta?
The once formidable tandem has gone their separate ways
Anyone who regularly watches the Toyota Vios Cup may be wondering why Team Toyota Quezon Avenue (TQA) was out of sight during the second leg of the series. Since Season 1, back in 2014 TQA has been one of the strongest teams ever to participate. Their drivers, two veteran karters who came out of semi-retirement both finished strong each year. Close friends of these two would call TQA Team Delta, in reference to the former Toyota distributor in the country, Delta Motors, one reason being how old they were when the Vios Cup started. They were referred to as the late Pocholo Ramirez (Allan Uy) and Dante Silverio (Dominique Ochoa), the Delta Motors tandem of the 70’s and early 80’s.
Uy, the 2016 Super Sporting Class champion, and Ochoa saw action early this year during the opening round of the Vios Cup. That was the last time they went inside the track. Of the two drivers, I see Ochoa regularly so after the second leg (which happened last June 10) I asked him about the team’s absence. According to him, their team principal, Franklin Lim and Uy were having some disagreements, and that it would be better that I just ask the two. On one occasion I bumped into Allan and there he told me what led to the team’s withdrawal from the series. The issue was about his prize from winning last year’s series, a brand new Toyota Vios, something that Allan had been waiting for quite a while. Meetings were held at the TQA headquarters between the two drivers and Franklin, with his brother, Lincoln. On one occasion Allan asked when the car would be given to him. Franklin and Lincoln told him that as a sponsored driver Allan was entitled to only 30% of the car’s worth which is over 200,000 pesos. This did not sit well with Allan. In a telephone conversation Franklin told this writer that there is an existing memo among the dealers since 2014 and that their respective drivers knew about it. On the other hand, this was something Allan said was only for the cash prizes. Franklin explained that he finds it unfair for a sponsored driver to have sole ownership of the car since the dealership pays for almost everything. It is different from a privateer who, in case of winning the Super Sporting class title, gets to own the brand new Vios because he paid for his own race car. Up until their last meeting, which happened a few months ago, the parties have failed to reach an agreement. Hence, the pull out of TQA that left both drivers with no ride.
Fortunately, Uy and Ochoa will be seen behind the wheel again on the third leg in September. Presently, Allan just acquired a Vios Cup race car. He is after all, the defending champion in the Super Sporting class. According to him he is going solo with support coming from what he said are his silent partners. Franklin and TQA meanwhile decided to rejoin the series with Ochoa and another TQA driver, Miko Maristela, who is now ahead of the two in their class with 34 points against Uy’s 30 and Ochoa’s 4 points. Do we see a new rivalry brewing? Exciting times ahead for the series.