Sunday, November 5, 2017

FlatOut Race Series Staged Final Showdown of 2017 at Clark International Speedway


Even a ravaging typhoon couldn’t stop the FlatOut Race Series (FORS) from staging the 8th and final round of the 2017 season. Torrential rains plagued the Clark International Speedway last October 14. Still, a total of 93 entries braved the poor weather for a last dash shot at this year’s championship.

As expected, Eduardo Suiza of W-Autosport / Staging Lanes and Rafael la O’ of Team Auto Magic were once again battling at the sharp end of the field. But there were also new names and young faces leading in the other categories.

The country’s premier grassroots motorsport event saw drivers such as Ralph Tan, Armand Marcaida, and Andre Makkina Tan improve and grow at every outing. Their efforts were rewarded with a win in their respective classes, fulfilling FORS’ goal of developing local motorsport talent through its Time Attack and Grid Races.

Time Attack

Running on GT Radial SX2 tires, Suiza in the #200 Civic EG set an impressive time in Bracket A with a 2:11.963 lap in the rain. This earned him 1st place while la O’ managed a 2:12.807 to claim 2nd. However, the fastest driver of the day was Dominique Bon who clocked a 2:09.129 on a drying track with slicks, giving him 1st in Bracket R.

Bon also topped the time sheets in Bracket B, running a 2:15.470 on SX2 tires. Meanwhile, multiple National Slalom Series championship Milo Rivera made a rare appearance to score 2nd followed by Blanche Racing’s Andrew de Asis who was 3rd.

Paul Santos clocked a 2:26.117 lap in Bracket C to take the win. Behind him in 2nd was lady driver Kathy Villar, who’s now a regular on the podium, and 602 PTG’s Kunihiro Iwatsuki in 3rd. Ralph Tan’s 2:26.506 lap allowed him to score a hat trick in Bracket D, beating AAP Motorsport Development Program (MSDP) finalist Paolo Santos in 2nd and Philippine GT driver Dindo De Jesus in 3rd.

Another MSDP graduate ended up on the podium with Armand Marcaida taking 1st place in Bracket E. Robert Tan in the KYB Toyota Yaris was second, while Andre Makkina Tan was 3rd. In Bracket F, Adrian Agcamaran was 1st, followed by Sherwin Bargos in 2nd, and Noel Delos Reyes with another 3rd place.

Lastly, Miguel Narciso managed to win 1st in Bracket G. Felix Chua was 2nd and another lady driver and MSDP finalist Hazel Ramirez was 3rd.

Grid Race

The GT Radial Grid A race was again a head-to-head battle between Eduardo Suiza and Rafael la O’. Suiza lead for most of the 10-lap race, but a late charge from la O’ allowed the Team Auto Magic driver to snatch 1st which he held onto until the chequered flag.

Aaron Lao concluded his season with another win in the KYB Grid B race. He crossed the finish line with a 1.957 sec advantage over 2nd placer Francis Roger Telan. Lao’s Blanche Racing teammate Andrew de Asis struggled to keep up and wound up 3rd. Bracket C winner Paul Santos maintained his dominating performance in the Smart Fuels Grid C race, finishing a full lap ahead from Ethanworx Racing Team’s Jonmark Ong in 2nd and Carmudi Racing’s Polo Bautista in 3rd.

22-cars made up the combined Recaro Grid D and Worksbell Grid E race with Ralph Tan controlling the pace. The drifter turned racer put on a solid drive to win his second race of the year. Paolo Santos was 4.675 secs behind to snatch 2nd in Grid D, while Patrick Manapat barely held onto 3rd place.

Andre Makkina Tan spent 8 laps defending his lead from Felix Chua, eventually winning Grid E with a 1.204 sec margin. Chua settled for 2nd and in a distant 3rd was Steve Travers.

With the 2017 season in the books, the FlatOut Race Series now turns its focus on the country’s longest endurance race. The GT Radial Philippine Endurance Challenge (PEC) will return to the Clark International Speedway for the 8 Oras ng Pilipinas on December 2/3.

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