RACE REPORTS

2002 SVI Grand Prix 3rd Leg

2002 SVI Grand Prix 3rd Leg image

Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted March 14, 2002 00:00

Coseteng extends his dominance as he sweeps both races

Jody Coseteng of Team Caltex/Red Horse/Autoplus extended his dominance in both the Blaze Super Saloon Series and Philippine National Touring Car Championship (PNTCC) as they ran a mixed grid race for the Super Saloon Rounds 5 & 6 and PNTCC Rounds 3 & 4.

In Round 5, Coseteng led the field from the start of the race until the checkered flag. Racing against his childhood buddy and closest competitor Jojo Silverio of Fujitsu Ten Team Tom's, Coseteng drove to the limit amidst traction problems later to be discovered as overinflated tires. "My front tires weren't gripping, I was having a hard time controlling the car. That's why Jojo (Silverio) was right on my tail. I got used to it coming to the last few laps and got ahead a little bit to ensure victory," said Coseteng. Coseteng was still running faster than his previous times in Round 4.

Despite driving an overweight car caused by weight penalties added for winning a race, he still made 1 minute 30 seconds laptimes. Although it would not be only Coseteng who would be doing 1 minute 30 second laptimes as Silverio was lapping at less than half a second behind Coseteng.

Kookie Ramirez held on to third position as he watched the leaders get it on as he himself was having a problem of his own. His electrical problems were back to haunt him again. "My rev limiter was getting in early again, I tried to shut down by engine and restart it again twice but to no avail. I just drove as smoothly as I could and maximized whatever engine power I had," said Kookie. Kookie was later penalized 2 places down for hitting the anti-cutting devices at the bus stop chicane dropping him down to 4th position.

Not so far behind Ramirez was a battle for 4th and 5th position as a sibling rivalry was going on between Mike Anton of Pinoy Toppings and Carlos Anton of Zed/MP Turbo/Gulf Oil challenging each other for position. Mike Anton with a spectacular climb from 7th place managed to get into 4th position in the 2nd lap ahead of brother Carlos. Mike managed to keep Carlos behind for 7 laps until Mike committed an error in lap 10 which allowed Carlos to get past him and hold on to the advantage.

Carlos and Mike would moves to 2nd and 3rd overall respectively brought about by Kookie's penalty. Mike Anton also received top honors in the B division. Not so far behind the sibling rivalry was a duel between Miguel Ramirez and Ferdie Ong. From laps 4 to 9, last season's champion Ferdie Ong tried to get as close to Ramirez as possible trying to overtake him. Unfortunately he got too close in the hairpin on the 10th lap and lost control of his car hitting Ramirez' rear end pretty hard.

Italian driver Riccardo Loi of GNC/ L'Opera/Agip/Madison/A'Tavola despite racing with a cold and starting at the back of the grid managed to take 2nd honors in B division ahead of Tom Pastor of Team TEC who finished the top three for the B division. Frenchman Dominic Bon was disqualified. Dominic Tan of NE Pacific Mall/Tahoe's/T&T/Speedwelle edged Francis Godinez of Add Research/Tropics Export for C division honors.

For the PNTCC Round 3, the final overall order was Costeng in 1st, Silverio in 2nd and Kookie Ramirez in 3rd. For B division Mike Anton in 1st, Floriendo in 2nd, and Ricardo Loi in 3rd.

In Round 6, a special impromtu driver's briefing was held on the grid where a few changes were implemented to the rules regarding the anti-cutting device in the bus-stop chicane. Racers would now be penalized for 2-seconds as opposed to 2 positions implemented in the earlier round.

Coseteng again showed his prowess and made a repeat of Round 5. But this time, Jojo Silverio was running a little further behind him after the 10th lap. "I was driving hard in the first few laps to try take off the pressure of Jojo behind me. I relaxed a bit when Jojo was far behind already," said Coseteng. Coseteng led Silverio by 3.4 seconds and again extended his lead in the points standings. Coseteng still leads both the Super Saloon Series and the Philippine National Touring Car Series.

Making a good comeback from an early mistake was Kookie Ramirez. Kookie dropped from 3rd in the grid to 7th position in the first two laps. He would slowly climb up the grid over the Anton brothers midway through the race. On the final few laps, overtake Floriedo on lap 11 and a very crucial overtake on Mike Aguilar in lap 14 to regain his 3rd position. Ramirez finished 2nd in Super Saloon and 3rd in PNTCC

Mike Aguilar on the other hand drove a very good race getting up to 3nd position in the first 2 laps from 5th. In his great overtaking move on lap 9, he overtook Silverio for 2nd position approaching turn 15. He would however lose his advantage over Silverio and drop back to 3rd on lap 12 and continue to make another mistake on lap 14 where he was overtaken by Kookie Ramirez. Aguilar still managed to clinch 3rd overall in the Super Saloon series.

Not being able to follow up his Round 5 performance, Mike Anton eventually retired after losing his windshield on lap 6. Philip Alvendia of A3 Autosports was the second retiree on the 8th lap parking his car on the grass after the hairpin on turn 11. Alvendia blew his race engine and had a spare stock engine and was complaining of engine problems since the first round of the race. Certainly a bad weekend for Alvendia.

Dominic Bon took an easy win for division B with the early exit of Mike Anton from the race. Meanwhile Italian ironman Ricardo Loi continued to brave his cold and finished 2nd in division B despite having to start at the end of the grid. Dominic Tan points leader in Division C continued to extend his lead taking Round 6 despite completing only 10 laps. Francis Godinez finished 2nd. Tom Pastor was not able to run in Round 6 due to mechanical problems.

For the PNTCC Round 3, the final overall order was Costeng in 1st, Silverio in 2nd and Kookie Ramirez in 3rd. For B division Floriendo in 1st, Dominic Bon in 2nd, and Ricardo Loi in 3rd.

SVI Challenge Cup series leader Monching Gutierrez of Dickies-MP Turbo continues his win streak as he sweeps both rounds 5 & 6 at the Subic International Raceway.

Starting from pole, Monching moved ahead of the other cars entering the first turn and never looked back. Second pole Don Pastor of Team TEC ran behind Monching until lap 2 and then slid down a position per lap util he fell down to 9th position in lap 7. Pastor, still struggling due to mechanical problems after he blew his engine in round 3. Menchie Francisco of Petron/SRA immediately got into 2nd position after Pastor started developing problems. Francisco defended her position against Ton-Ton Gutierrez of Dickies-MP Turbo from lap 4 to finish. Francisco took 2nd overall and 1st in C division. Ton-Ton on the other hand settled for 3rd overall and 2nd in class.

Allex Padua of Zed-MP Turbo-Gulf Oil after making a good start climbing up to 6th position after starting from 9th struggled midway through the race falling back to last position slowly made a climb to 4th position in the 7th lap. Padua finished 4th overall and 3rd in C division. Erick Tanael of Intelco Racing Team running his first race this season finished fifth overall edging novice driver John Sambo of Zed-MP Turbo-Gulf Oil. Sambo took the win for the Novice division. While Gaby Dela Merced of Bigshot Billiards/Butt Racing finished 2nd in the Novice division.

In Round 6, Monching Gutierrez repeated his morning round performance as he routed the whole field and led the whole race. Monching double win puts him well ahead in the points standings. Caltex Havoline/Beefeater Racing Team's Oscar Aguilar made a comeback after a dismal Round 5 performance brought about by a flat tire early on in the race. Aguilar made a 7th position surge into 3rd in the first lap. He continued his surge as he challenged Ton-Ton Guttierez whom he eventually overtakes on lap 5. Aguilar went unchallenged until the end of the race. He took 2nd overall and 1st in C division.

The 6th round would not be a friendly one for some racers as John Sambo retired after a lap, Round 5 second placer Menchie Francisco retired on the 6th lap due to overheating problems. The eighth claimed another victim as Ton-Ton Gutierrez retires due to mechanical problems.

The early exit of the Tonton and Francisco gave way for Alex Padua to get into 3rd position on the 8th lap after a repeat of his 5th round start. Padua's momentarily has a breath of 3rd position until lap 11 when Intelco Racing's Erick Tanael overtakes him and takes 3rd position away from him.

Gaby Dela Merced making another one of her afternoon round rushes made herself a win in the Novice division as she climbed from the back of the grid to 7th position ahead of Peewee Mendiola of Caltex Havoline. Dela Merced held on to the lead until the checkered flag to take the Novice division win over Mendiola. Don Pastor continued to struggle as he dropped from 2nd position to last position and stayed there for the whole race.