Wednesday, March 14, 2018

109 Entries Welcome FlatOut Race Series' 2018 Season Opener


It was the perfect start to the FlatOut Race Series’ (FORS) 2018 season when 109-entries took to the Clark International Speedway (CIS) last 3rd of March.

Sanctioned by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), the field was filled with familiar faces and veteran racers who competed in the day’s Time Attack and Grid races. But as the country’s premier grassroots motorsports event, it also welcomed several first timers who came with their daily-driven cars. These new drivers filled up 29 slots in Bracket F and G where they learned how to race properly on the track.

Time Attack

Rafael la O’ was able to shave several tenths off his previous lap record around the 4.189 km circuit with a 2:10.477 best. This was enough to earn the driver of the GT Radial SX2-equipped #1 Honda Civic EK 1st place in Bracket A and R. Team Nawna Racing’s Gabby Sohu was 2nd with a 2:11.420, while last year’s champ Eduardo Suiza still managed to bag 3rd in a borrowed W-Autosport / Staging Lanes Honda Civic EG.

A newly-built engine helped Andrew De Asis in the Blanche Racing Honda Civic secure the win in Bracket B by almost a full second. Gabby’s younger brother Raffy ended up in 2nd, while MSDP graduate Paolo Santos claimed 3rd.

Fellow Blanche Racing driver Christopher Pimentel enjoyed 1st place, this time in Bracket C. Behind him was Vios Cup ace Tonton Ramos who clocked a 2:20.925 in the Forcedspeed Honda Civic, followed by Carmudi Racing’s Polo Bautista in 3rd.

Only 0.524 secs separated the top drivers in Bracket D. The fastest was 17-year-old Julian Paul Neri of Cebu Racing Group (CRG) who beat 10 other cars to take 1st place. Impressively, this was his very first time in a race car, on his first track experience. His teammate Jojo Lloren was in a close 2nd and Carlos Marzo was 3rd. Avin Villaseñor, Paul Ongcuangco, and Darrel Ceña rounded up podium spots in Bracket E.

FORS first-timer Mark Anton David showed good performance in his Toyota Yaris to win in Bracket F, fending off the Ford Focus of Raymond Ryan Cudala in 2nd and the Ford Fiesta of Peter Amiel Del Mundo in 3rd. Coming all the way from Baguio, Gilbert Orpilla and his Honda Civic EF set the best time amongst 18 drivers in Bracket G to take 1st place.

Grid Race

A huge 18-car field took to the starting line of the combined Grid A, B, and C race. With his pace, Rafael la O’ was unstoppable and won with a comfortable 13.681 sec lead in Grid A. Despite having about half the amount of power, Eduardo Suiza did his best hold onto 2nd and finished 2nd. Gaby Sohu was a long way behind in 3rd.

It was a 4-way battle between Paolo Santos in the Mitsubishi Evolution 6 and the Honda Civics of Andrew De Asis, Jun Cabrera, and Raffy Sohu. They were nose-to-tail throughout the 9-lap race with Santos crossing the finish line 1st by a small 0.205 sec advantage. De Asis attempted to take the lead but was unsuccessful. He ended the race in 2nd, while Cabrera was 3rd.

Francis Roger Telan finished 1st in Bracket C, followed by Tonton Ramos in 2nd and Paul Santos in 3rd.

Carporn Racing’s Errol Panganiban jumped to an early lead in Grid D. However, he and the Mazda MX-5 ND dropped back when the group of Bernard Michael Santos, Carlos Marzo, and Andre Makkina Tan barged their way through as they battled for the lead. Tan would end up with 1st, followed by Marzo in 2nd, and MDSP graduate Santos in 3rd.

In Grid E, it looked as if Felix Chua won by a mile, but a post-race inspection showed that he broke out of the bracket time and was penalized. This handed the win to Jeremy Jimenez, while Peter Amiel Del Mundo and Mars Ocampo claimed 2nd and 3rd places, respectively.

After a short break, the FlatOut Race Series will return to the Clark International Speedway for Round 2 on April 7, 2018.

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