Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co, Benj Ngo | posted October 18, 2002 00:00
Goddard tops 2002 AF3
British driver Mark Goddard of the Castrol Ambi Pur Team Goddard made a clean sweep of the championship rounds of the AF3 to secure the title. Richard Joson of the Denso JF3 Racing Team finished the season as the top Filipino driver after making 2nd place in Round 13. After having missed 8 rounds, JP Tuason of TRP Team Oxygen made two 3rd place finishes to end the season.
At the start of round 13, polesitter Jojo Silverio of Casino Filipino Team Tom's ZED and Shell Racing Team's Pepon Marave had a slight incident in turn one which caused damage to the front wing of Marave's car.
But the two managed to continue after they recovered. A split second away came the Formula Toyota cars of Mandy Borja, Joel Retuya, Roland Hermoso and Jeremy Marquez which made into a pile up. The accident caused Borja, Marquez and Retuya to retire.
Officials decided to stop the race after the chaos in turn one. The track was cleared of the cars involved in the pile-up and debris was cleared for a safe restart. The surviving drivers patiently waited on the grid under the scorching sun. After the last round of safety inspection was done, the race was underway as the drivers started their engines.
At the restart, Silverio again pulled away from the pack ahead of Marave and Goddard only to find his car stop in turn two where Marave quickly took the lead. A few corners later, Marave dropped 3 positions down losing control of his car in a slippery patch. Goddard immediately took the control of the race and never looked back. Formula Renault Champion Enzo Pastor of Team TEC followed behind Goddard.
Joson trailed behind the leaders early in the race to a high temperature reading. "My water temp meter read high numbers for the first few laps because we took too long waiting in the starting grid. I couldn't push the car until the 6th lap. But it was a little too late as Mark (Goddard) had already built a considerable lead," said Joson.
Goddard kept pulling away from Pastor lap after lap. Behind the leaders ensued a battle for third position between Joson and Tuason. Joson took command of the duel and defended his line carefully to keep Tuason away and secure himself of a 3rd place finish. But in the post-race scrutineering, Enzo Pastor's car failed the restrictor air-leak test and was disqualified by the race stewards. Richard Joson was awarded second place while JP Tuason was upgraded to the top three taking third place.
Meanwhile in the Formula Toyota division, Carlo Pastor of Team TEC led the race all the way over Roland Hermoso of Team Petron and Victor Yap of Shell Racing Team. Hermoso and Yap finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
A spectacular start for Richard Joson of Denso JF3 Racing in Round 14 as he beat Mark Goddard into turn one and led the race until lap 4 where he slowed down due to apparent overheating problems. "I had to slow down because I did not want my race to end just yet. I had to let Mark (Goddard) pass on the chicane because I was slowing down," said Joson.
Running behind them was Pepon Marave of Shell Racing followed by JP Tuason or TRP Team Oxygen. However a tenacious Jojo Silverio of the Casino Filipino Tom's Zed Team kept pressure all the way to find an open spot in turn one on lap 5 to take Tuason. A lap later, Silverio made the same maneuver on Marave. A slight contact cause Marave's car to spin out and end his race.
Silverio would soon make an overtaking maneuver on a slowing down Joson in lap 7, after-which Tuason would also overtake. After 5 cooling down laps, Joson would make a comeback rush to retake his lost position. But alas, driving too fast into the double left hand turn after the straight caused him to loose control of his car and spin out. With Joson out of the race, Tuason did not have to worry about anything but just to finish the race to take his second podium finish of the weekend.
Silverio set his sight on the crown as he tried to catch up with Goddard, but alas Goddard was too far away in front for him to catch. "It was a case of just pushing hard enough so that Jojo wouldn't catch me. I'm very pleased with the way the season has gone," Goddard said. Silverio was also pleased with his results despite finishing in second place, "The track is difficult and the first turn is very tricky. I'm just glad that I was able to move up the way I did."
Silverio on the other hand had his eyes on the crown as he tried to catch up with Goddard, but alas Goddard was too far away in front for him to catch. "It was a case of just pushing hard enough so that Jojo wouldn't catch me. I'm very pleased with the way the season has gone," Goddard said. Silverio was also pleased with his results despite finishing in second place, "The track is difficult and the first turn is very tricky. I'm just glad that I was able to move up the way I did."
Most delighted of all the drivers was JP Tuason of TRP Team Oxygen who made two podium finishes in third. "I've had a difficult weekend and a difficult season too. And to finishing on the podium is really great for me," said Tuason.
With the result, Goddard officially claims the overall championship in the Asian Formula 3 Series with a total of 211 points, with France's Philippe Descombes finishing second with 137 and third going to Hong Kong's Paul Chan, who accumulated 99 points. The best Filipino finisher in the 2002 Asian Formula Challenge is Richard Joson who finishes with 88 points.