Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Petron FlatOut Race Series Blazes Through Rain-Hit Round 6


The Petron FlatOut Series (Petron FORS) was greeted by another rain-soaked race day when it visited the Clark International Speedway last August 11. But with the last two events also run in these conditions, the 104 racers that showed up for Round 6 were now ready to slug it out in the rain.

Their extensive wet weather experience translated into faster lap times, with most improving on their previous best during the Time Attack and Grid Races. And while several drivers had misadventures in the poor weather, there were no serious accidents which is a testament to the organizer’s focus on maintaining a safe racing environment.

Adding to the excitement were support races by the Asian V8 Championship and Formula V1 Challenge. The new Super Compact 1500 Class, for production compact vehicles with a maximum engine displacement of 1,500-cc, also made its debut.

Time Attack

It was no surprise when Rafael la O’ once again set the fastest time of the day with his Staunch Performance Honda Civic EK. He took top honors in Bracket R with a blazing 2.18.074 lap. Meanwhile, Gabby Sohu of Nawna Racing was close behind with his 2:21.700 time.

Swapping out their race tires for Bracket A, Gabby Sohu this time got the win with la O’ in 2nd. Jero Consing from Bacolod then took 3rd. Aaron Lao of Blanche Racing came out of a year-long hiatus to eke out a narrow 0.123 sec victory in Bracket B. Raffy Sohu had to settle for 2nd place, while Ronn Catindig of BRE Racing made it to the last podium spot.

Douglas Maninding was the fastest man in Bracket C, setting a near-perfect 2:30.031 time on GT Radial SX2 tires. Paul Santos followed in 2nd and Paul Ongcuangco came 3rd. Errol Panganiban scored back-to-back wins in Bracket D wheeling the Car Porn Racing Mazda MX-5 ND. Robert Tan in the purple GT KYB Toyota Yaris barely held onto 2nd place, who was only 0.030 sec ahead of Avin Villaseñor in 3rd.

Michael Anthony Ocampo was nearly a second ahead of 2nd placer Royce Sarmiento in Bracket E. In 3rd place was veteran driver Sherwin Bargos. Bracket F had JC Alberto win by a huge margin over Allen Escoto in 2nd and Anthony Raymond Santos.

AAP Motorsport Development Program finalist Raymond ‘Powee’ Base bested the Bracket G competitors with a win on his very first Petron FORS weekend. Alexis Khan Lavapie and Ken Malang claimed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

The round also featured special classes. The Supercar Class entries brought out their big guns with Marbel Bayombong setting the fastest time in his Staunch Performance Nissan GT-R. Raffy Rabe then outran the 86 Class boys with his Subaru BRZ. As for the Asian V8 Championship, lady driver Gaby Dela Merced topped the time sheets ahead of Enrique Hormillo and Mark Bernardo.

Grid Race

Sanctioned by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), 19 drivers roared down the start/finish line in the combined Staunch Performance Grid D and SmartFuels 2 Race Grid E race. Battle for the lead in Grid E ensued between Paul Ongcuangco and Errol Panganiban who ran away from the pack. The two swapped positions in the rain, but Ongcuangco eventually took the chequered flag in his Honda Civic EK. Adrian Lampano and Andre Tan had their own fight for 3rd with Lampano taking the final podium spot.

Felix Chua, Kody Ng, and JC Alberto had a close fight in Grid E. The three racers were nose-to-tail throughout the 7-lap race. Chua managed to hold both drivers at bay to finish 1st, ahead of Ng by 0.687 secs. Alberto did well to finish 3rd on his first FORS race.

As the weather turned for the worse in the afternoon, the organizers called off the rest of the grid races that day for safety. Grids A, B, and C will then be run when the Petron FlatOut Race Series stages its penultimate round at the Batangas Racing Circuit on September 15.

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