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May 26, 2015

Yokohama Philippine GT Championship Kicks Off 2015 Season

The Yokohama Philippine GT Championship is finally back with the 2015 season, starting with the first race of the year held last May 16 to 17 at the Clark International Speedway (CIS).

Like before, the race weekend hosted a 10-lap Sprint race and a 15-lap GT Race on Sunday. Race cars are then classified according to horsepower rating, divided into GT 300, GT 200, GT 150, and GT 100. Sponsored by Yokohama Tire Sales Philippines, Inc. (YTSP), the faster GT 300 cars are required to run ADVAN A050 racing tires for the whole season. Competitors in GT 200, GT 150, and GT 100, on the other hand, have the option to run either the A050 or the ADVAN Neova AD08 R performance tire.

A total of 10 cars lined up the grid – ready to compete for the top spot on the podium.

The morning's 10-lap Sprint Race was dominated by GT 300 driver Veli-Matti Kaikkonen in the Häfele Mitsubishi Evolution VIII. The Finish driver led from start to finish and crossed the line with a 21.629 second advantage.

Meanwhile, last year's GT 150 champion, Richmon Dela Rosa, made a rather successful debut in GT 200 when finished 1st in class with his upgraded Honda Civic Del Sol. He was able to beat the 2014 class champion, Paolo Mantolino, who lost 3rd-gear in his chrome Honda Civic FD during the early stages of the race. Walter Zamora then crossed the line in 3rd.

Series newcomer Patrick Dela Rosa, inherited 1st place in GT 150 after Dindo De Jesus was slapped with a penalty for gaining an advantage by driving off track. Bong Perez then limped to a respectable 3rd place in class.

In GT 100, Ivan Diaz claimed 1st place in class ahead of Joginder “King” Sin in 2nd, followed by Edwin Rodriguez who was driving his brand new Mazda 2 SKYACTIV race car, supported by Mazda Philippines.

Come the afternoon's 15-lap GT Race, Kaikonnen and Richmon Dela Rosa once again dominated their respective classes earning them back to back wins. Paolo Mantolino still retained 2nd place in GT 200, followed by Walter Zamora in 3rd.

Likewise, Patrick Dela Rosa achieved back-to-back wins in GT 150 following in the footsteps of his older brother Richmon. Bong Perez was able to fight for 2nd place in the neon-yellow Honda Civic EK with Dindo De Jesus settling for 3rd place in GT 150.

Finally, Ivan Diaz once again finished in 1st in GT 100, followed by Sin in 2nd. Edwin Rodriguez, on the other hand, started from the pitlane and finished a lap down in the Mazda 2 SKYACTIV to claim 3rd. This was the very first race outing for his new machine and hopes to have all the mechanical gremlins sorted by the the next race.

A total of 13 classic Mini Coopers raced in the Philminiracers' Final, which was won by Borgy Zoleta followed by Rick Jason De Guzman in 2nd, and Arvir Gervacio in 3rd. Meanwhile, Kim Lagman was able to beat a pack of 7 racers in the Sparco Bracket Racing Championship. Franklin Ong and Lewy Manio then collected 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.

As for the newly-established Classic Aspirated Cup, which consisted of vintage VWs and Japanese nostalgia, the Top 3 finishers were Dexter Daquigan for VW Modified, Philippine GT Chief Scrutineer Fil Gulfin for 2.0 Modified, and Armand Hipolito for the VW 1600 Class.

Round 2 of the 2015 Yokohama Philippine GT Championship will be held on June 20 to 21 at the Clark International Speedway. It is sanctioned by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), sponsored by Yokohama Tires Sales Philippines, Inc., Sparco, and Aguila Auto Glass with support from the offical dyno provider, Speedlab.

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