Sunday, June 17, 2018

Driver Skill put to the Test in Rain-Soaked Petron FlatOut Race Series Round 4


In contrast to the previous event’s soaring temperatures, Round 4 of the Petron FlatOut Race Series (Petron FORS) saw its competitors race under a torrential downpour at the the Clark International Speedway (CIS). Although the treacherous conditions caught several drivers by surprise, it allowed those brave enough to shine on track last June 9.

Non-stop rain made the 4.189 km circuit as slippery as ice. This required finesse rather than brute power to set a quick lap, which was best demonstrated by some of the youngest entries in the field. Gabby Sohu, Jero Consing, and Kody Ng who are still in their teens outpaced the veterans in their respective Time Attack brackets and won. Likewise, lady driver Chenee Jimenez showed that she can excel in a male-dominated sport by taking 1st place in Bracket G.

Time Attack

Rafael la O’ once again proved that he’s the fastest driver on track, whether in the dry or wet. He set the benchmark lap of 2:16.762 in the Staunch Performance Honda Civic EK to win Bracket R. But Gabby Sohu of Team Nawna Racing prevented la O’ from dominating the Time Attack session by setting a 2:21.310 lap to claim 1st place in Bracket A.  Eduardo Suiza in the W-Autosport / Staging Lanes Honda Civic EG then came in a distant 2nd.

Jero Consing was 2.224 secs clear of 2nd placer Paolo Santos in Bracket B to claim 1st. Gabby’s younger brother Raffy completed the podium in 3rd. Errol Panganiban swapped his usual Mazda MX-5 ND for a CarPorn Racing Subaru WRX STI and recorded a 2:31.188 best. The lap earned him 1st in Bracket C and was actually faster than Consing’s time in Bracket B.

Raffy Rabe and his Subaru BRZ held a slight advantage in Bracket D to win against Rommel Guevarra in 2nd.  Robert Tan in the Grupo Toyota Yaris then came 3rd. Bracket E was topped by Kenneth Santos with his 2:38.436 best, followed by Michael Rivero in 2nd and Franklin Ong in 3rd.

15-year-old Kody Ng recorded his second straight win in Bracket F. Amiel Del Mundo in the BRE Ford Fiesta was 2nd while Mark Pascual in the BYD F0 was 3rd. AAP Motorsport Development Program (MSDP) graduate Chenee Jimenez debuted her newly-built Nissan 240Z to win in Bracket G.

Lastly, the 86 Class saw Edwin Sarmenta finish 1st with Christopher Co in 2nd.

Grid Race

Sanctioned by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), the combined Staunch Performance Grid D and SmartFuels 2 Race Grid E race was a tricky 5-lap dance in the rain. Some drivers tiptoed their way to the finish line while an unlucky few made unplanned trips off-course. But the likes of Paul Ongcuangco, Andre Makkina Tan, Erwin Manaog, and Franklin Ong braved the weather and battled for the lead. Ongcuangco barely held onto 1st place with Tan crossing the finish line a mere 0.640 sec behind. Manaog was a distant 3rd who skillfully defended his position.

Felix Chua was enjoyed a 16.297 secs lead to take a dominant win in Grid E. Mark Pascual concluded his weekend with a 2nd place finish, while Amiel Del Mundo was 3rd.

The rain only got stronger later that afternoon and was deemed by the officials too dangerous to continue racing. With consensus from the drivers, the organizers decided to postpone the Petron Grid A, KYB Grid B, and Recaro Grid C races to the next round for safety.

The Petron FlatOut Race Series’s next event will be held the Batangas Racing Circuit on July 14, 2018 for Round 5.

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