Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted October 18, 2002 00:00
Coseteng wins championship in style with a clean sweep
The final leg of the SVI Grand Prix coincided with the 2002 Philippine Motorsports Festival which is held annually at the Subic International Raceway. Jody Coseteng dominated this year's PMF by winning both the PNTCC and the Super Saloon series.
It was Kookie Ramirez of Petron SRA who led the start of the 13th Super Saloon/ 11th PNTCS, but his lead lasted only until the 4th lap where he hit the bus-stop tire barriers and was flagged down for a stop-and-go penalty. This gave Jody Coseteng of Caltex/Red Horse/Autoplus a wide-open door to take the lead. Coseteng went all the way ahead without looking back as he rallied through each lap with mid to low 1:30 laptimes. Miguel Ramirez of Petron SRA could only muster up so much as he finished 8.9 seconds behind Coseteng in 2nd position.
Ending his race early was Mon Lindo of MP Turbo who retired after lap 3. Last season's Super Saloon champion Ferdie Ong of Rota/Speedwelle on the other hand retired after 9 laps. Running a very good race from the middle of the field was Louis Ramirez of Petron SRA who made a steady climb up to finish 4th just less than half-a-second behind Jojo Silverio of Fujitsu Ten Team Tom's Shell. Silverio ended in 3rd position almost 4 seconds behind Miguel Ramirez.
Meanwhile in the middle of the race, it was a battle in the midfield as Mike Anton of Pinoy Toppings/QCAutosports and Vincent Floirendo of Fujitsu Ten Team Tom's Shell hustled each other for good finishes. Anton bettered Floirendo to take the win in the B division. Frenchman Dominic Bon rounded up the top 3 finishers for the B division in the back part of the grid.
Jody Coseteng of Caltex/Red Horse/Autoplus determined to win in style and started the final round in full fury and never looked back as he took the lead from turn one. Kookie Ramirez of Petron SRA followed closely and even made a really fast time in lap 2 as Ramirez ran a 1:29.668 laptime just .008 seconds away from Coseteng's best lap of 1:29.660 set in lap 9.
Quick advancer was Louis Ramirez who got past Carlos Anton of Gulf/Zed/MP Turbo in lap 2 to advance one position. Early retirees from the race were Mon Lindo who again retired after 3 laps and Ferdie Ong who retired after the 4th lap. Division B leader Mike Anton didn't expect a retirement when until lap 9 where he experienced problems and made an exit after the 10th lap opening the door for Vincent Floirendo to take the division win.
In the 11th lap, Miguel Ramirez found an open door to overtake brother Kookie to give himself double 2nd place finishes for the final rounds. Kookie Ramirez continued his position drop in lap 14 as he lost his podium finish when Floirendo and brother Louis Ramirez got past him. A really close race between Floirendo and Louis Ramirez with just three-tenths of a second separating the two. Kookie Ramirez ended the race in 5th.
Towards the end of the race in lap 12, after grueling abuse, Jojo Silverio's engine began to emit white smoke. Silverio continued to limp the car only to be forced to drive into the pits in lap 14 as he retired from the race. Showing the biggest improvement so far was Philip Alvendia of A3 Motorsports/Malayan Insurance who figured himself in the middle of the grid just ahead of Dominic Bon as he took Bon in a daring last minute overtaking maneuver in lap 14. Riccardo Loi of GNC/L'Opera/Agip/Madison/A'Tavola rounded up the top 3 finishers for the B division more than 30 seconds behind Bon.
SVI Challenge Cup
A wasted win for Mikko David of Caltex Havoline/Bigshot Billiards in the 13th round of the SVI Challenge Cup as he was disqualified for failing the ride height requirement in the post-race scrutineering. Third placer Dominic Bon likewise suffered the same fate. "We tried the soft suspension setup for the race, but we forgot to compensate the height level for the post race scrutineering, thus my car was too low and didn't pass the ride height test," said Mikko David after the race.
Early retiree was Gaby Dela Merced of Bigshot Billiards who ran too fast into the hairpin turn 10 and spun out sending her car to the gravel pit ending her race in lap 3.
A midrace commotion brought out the yellow flags. But insistent drivers Peewee Mendiola of Caltex Havoline, Menchie Francisco of Petron SRA and Monching Gutierrez Dickies MP Turbo all overtook under yellow flag. The three of them were all penalized based on the review of the per-lap results. Series leader Gutierrez found himself plunging down the order after a position drop in lap 3. He continued his drop to 8th by the next lap to even last position in lap 6. Managing to crawl back up by 2 positions, he ended up 7th but was awarded 3rd after the yellow-flag penalties were imposed.
Don Pastor of Team TEC made a quick recovery after dropping down four positions in lap 4 to 6th. In quickly got back up to 2nd by the next lap and held on until the end of the race. His effort was well rewarded when David was disqualified and he was awarded the win. John Sambo of MP Turbo piloted himself to a Novice class victory as he took the series with Dela Merced out of the way and Mendiola's penalties.
In round 14, Mikko David and Dominic Bon reclaimed themselves of a lost round 13. David led the race from start to finish as Bon managed to muscle himself into 2nd position in lap 7 getting past Gutierrez. Gutierrez continued his drop down the order to 5th.
With Gutierrez dropping out of contention, Don Pastor of Team TEC and Gaby Dela Merced of Bigshot Racing Team quickly moved in to challenge each other for 3rd position. Pastor almost had the upper hand until Dela Merced made a daring overtake to take away the podium finish from Pastor. Dela Merced also set the fastest laptime of 1:39.559 seconds in lap 3.
Menchie Francisco of Petron SRA managed to get ahead of Oscar Aguilar in lap 8 and pulled away to finish more than 21 seconds away from Aguilar. Francisco ended 2nd place for division C while Aguilar took the final podium position. Peewee Mendiola and John Sambo rounded up the Novice class finishing second and third respectively.