Monday, August 11, 2014

Kaikkonen Puts Up Strong Challenge to Portugal in Round 2 of Philippine GT Championship


Round 2 of the 2014 Yokohama Philippine Grand Touring Car Championship once again brought 17 racing machines out on the asphalt of the Batangas Racing Circuit last the June 27. The grid was made up of 3 cars competing in GT 300, 3 in GT 200, 8 in GT 150, and 3 more in the GT 100 class.

After the morning's qualifying session, the two GT 300 Mitsubishi Evolutions of Don Don Portugal and Team Häfele's Veli-Matti Kaikkonen lead the pack in 1st and 2nd. They were followed by the GT 200 Hondas of Carlos Anton, Joey Perry, and Paolo Mantolino who filled up 3rd, 4th, and 5th spots. The rest of the grid was then   completed by GT 150 and GT 100 competitors.

The morning’s 10-lap sprint race got off to a rough start when Jomari Yllana crashed into the Civic FD of Carlos Anton on the very first corner, which took the GT 200 driver out of the race. Yllana, on the other hand, managed to carry on and eventually take 3rd place in the GT 300 class.

As for the lead pack, Don Don Portugal led the race from start to end to take the GT 300 class win, followed by Finnish driver Veli-Matti Kaikkonen in 2nd. Paolo Mantolino took 1st place for the GT 200 class ahead of Joey Perry, while Dindo De Jesus, Joel Portugal, and Allan Macaraig finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively in GT 150.

Although Arvin Drueco crossed the line in 1st for GT 100, he was eventually disqualified from the final standings after failing the dyno inspection. This handed the win to Edwin Rodriguez driving the Mazda Philippines-sponsored Mazda 2 with Raffy Latorre taking 2nd place.

In the afternoon's 17-lap GT Race, Veli-Matti Kaikkonen in the Häfele Mitsubishi Evolution inherited the lead after Don Don Portugal spun out in the opening laps. The Taysan Mayor, however, clawed his way back up the field and caught up to Kaikkonen after a heroic drive. Kaikkonen would later make an error lapping the slower cars which handed the GT 300 class win to Portugal.

Still, it was a good fight for Kaikkonen who came back to the sport after a long hiatus. Expect more to come from the Finnish driver in the upcoming races. Unfortunately for Jomari Yllana, the actor would fail to finish due to technical problems and only completed 3 laps.

Carlos Anton fought hard to take 1st place in GT 200, followed by Paolo Mantolino in 2nd and Joey Perry in 3rd place. In GT 150, Richmon dela Rosa showed his true pace with a newly-built car to take the win. 2nd and 3rd places then went to Bong Perez and Antonio Rock Moncupa, respectively. Edwin Rodriguez once again won the GT 100 class with Raffy Latorre in 2nd and Arvin Drueco finishing 3rd.

Results for the Phil Mini Racers Championship had Rodney Caballero taking 1st place, Arvir Gervacio in 2nd, and Borgy Zuleta in 3rd for the Open Class. In the VW Kafer Cup, Daniel Castaneda won over Raffy Locson in 2nd place, while Dannie Daquigan took 3rd.

The third leg of the 2014 Yokohama Philippine Grand Touring Car Championship will be held on Aug 30 to 31 at the Clark International Speedway. The races are sanctioned by the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), presented by PETRONAS Energy Philippines, Inc. and sponsored by Yokohama Tires Sales Philippines, Inc.

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