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June 26, 2018

23 Teams Conquer Weather and Attrition in Petron Philippine Endurance Challenge

The Petron x Philippine Endurance Challenge (Petron PEC) is a battle of attrition, racing non-stop to see who can go the farthest around the clock. But the 2018 edition of the 4 Oras ng Pilipinas had several new elements that added to the difficulty of the event. Not only did the mixed 23-car grid had to brave non-stop rain, but the merger of the Kalayaan Cup meant that several teams had to outlast the full 12 hours.

Held last June 12 at the Clark International Speedway (CIS), the race officially got the green light at exactly 5:45 AM. The pole-sitting #22 H Racing Honda Civic FD wasted no time to extend its lead, trailed by fellow entries in the RP Class the #1 AutoPerformance Victor Hardware BMW M3, and the #2 Parts Pro Racing Honda Civic EG.

Slippery conditions, however, would claim 3 victims on only the very first hour. Thankfully, all were able to rejoin the race with assistance from the recovery crew. This also prompted the Safety Car to be deployed for every incident, which happened at least 10 times during the day.

The overall lead changed every hour, held briefly by the #1 BMW M3 then the #14 Team GT Radial Honda Civic EK. With a required driver change and refueling in the 4-hour enduro, pit stop strategies also played a crucial role in gaining or losing track position.

Quietly moving its way up the standings, the #12 Shell Helix Ultra Honda Civic FD proved that consistency is key. Estefano Rivera, Paolo Santos, and Andre Tan had a trouble-free run allowing them to take a dominant overall and RP Class win in the 4 Oras ng Pilipinas with a full lap advantage.

The #5 Team Mango Suites x BM Racing Toyota Vios of Red Diwa and Francis Dysico was also comfortably running at their own pace. It may not be the quickest amongst the front runners, but a solid performance allowed them to finish 4th overall, 2nd in RP Class, 3rd in FM-1, and take 1st place in both FM-2 and FM-3 making them the most successful out of all the teams. Meanwhile, the #14 GT Radial Honda of Gerard Loy, Edward Dela Rosa, Uly Maninding, Don Pastor, and Michael Bryan Co was 3rd in RP Class.

The #18 PartsPro x Car Porn Racing Mazda MX-5 was a revelation in the rain. Despite lacking in power, it was able to finish 2nd overall and win in FM-1 with Errol Panganiban, Gabe Tayo, Kevin Tayao, Marc Soong, and Iñigo Anton. Plagued by mechanical issues, the sister #2 PartsPro Racing Civic of Tyson Sy and Carlos Anton still did a good job to take 3rd overall and 2nd in FM-1.

Team BRE’s #21 Ford Fiesta of Bubi Camus, Benjamin Ng, Ronn Catindig, Amiel del Mundo, Kevin Sugden, and John Diego was 2nd in FM-2. Behind them was the #13 Shell Helix Ultra Honda Civic EG driven by Gabie Desales, Mike Santos, Abet Reyes, and Peewee Mendiola.

Father-and-son duo Mike and Miguel Hortel did really well on their very first PEC. They landed 2nd in FM-3 with their #19 Team Cebu x M&M x MR Auto Toyota Yaris and completed 75 laps. Robert Tan, Sherwin Bargos, Ferdie Sia, and Mars Ocampo in the #17 GT x SB Salon x KYB SmartFuels Toyota Yaris took the final podium spot in FM-3.

12 Hour Kalayaan Cup

While competitors in the 4 Oras ng Pilipinas pulled into parc ferme, those gunning for the full Kalayaan Cup continued on. The next 8 hours turned into a 2-way battle between the #1 AutoPerformance BMW M3 and #14 GT Radial Honda. Their chase for the overall win went down to the chequered flag with the BMW winning by half a lap. George Apacible, Jeff Borja, Miguel Dizon, Enrique Hormillo, Sung Jun Park, and Stefan Ramirez completed 243 laps and 1,018 km in the course of 12 hours of racing to take 1st in RP Class and FM-1.

5-laps behind was the #6 Petron Blaze Racing ToraTora Honda Civic EK of Raymund Dimapilis, Thirdie Icasas, and Pepon Marave who took top honors in FM-2. Meanwhile, the #17 GT x SB Salon x KYB SmartFuels Toyota Yaris enjoyed another class podium, this time winning in FM-3.

All in all, the teams completed a total of 3,821 laps and covered 16,006 km of race distance in the Petron x Philippine Endurance Challenge. And out of the 23 starters, 22 made it to the finish line.

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