2003 SVI Grand Prix 4th Leg

2003 SVI Grand Prix 4th Leg image

Text: Andre Arellano / Photos: Brent Co | posted August 18, 2003 00:00

Coseteng and Ramirez split wins in Super Saloon

It was a big weekend as the Asian Formula 3 races joined the regular National races at the Subic International Raceway. The Philippine National Touring Car Championship once again ran in conjunction with the Blaze Super Saloon Championship allowing the drivers to compete in two championships at the same time. The SVI Challenge Cup showed the close racing with different winners in both Rounds.

In qualifying Jody Coseteng of San Miguel/Havoline Racing would take advantage of a wide-open bus stop to set the fastest qualifying time in the Toyota Corolla. The Red Bull Civic of Mike Anton was alongside setting the second fastest time. Privateer Francis Godinez was the fastest of the Super Saloon B drivers as 10 cars would line up for the two rounds.

The start of Round 1 was crowded as Coseteng and Anton were joined by the two Petron SRA Civics as the field rushed into the first turn. At the exit it Coseteng ahead of Anton, Kookie Ramirez and Miguel Ramirez. Anton was leading the Super Saloon A drivers and was running just a short distance behind Costeng. Godinez had the Super Saloon B lead and was pushing the A drivers ahead of him.

A very unfortunate race for both Kookie Ramirez and Dominic Bon who only managed to finish 12 laps due to car problems. Ramirez suffered transmission problems.

At the checkered flag Jody Coseteng would take his fourth win of the season with Mike Anton in second and Miguel Ramirez in the second Petron car in third. Anton would also take the Super Saloon A win ahead of Nilo Pazcoguin and Louis Ramirez. Francis Godinez would take the Super Saloon B win ahead of Dominic Bon.

The classified results were: Overall - Jody Coseteng (1st), Mike Anton (2nd), Miguel Ramirez (3rd). Div. A - Mike Anton (1st), Louis Ramirez (2nd), Nilo Pazcoguin (3rd). Div. B - Francis Godinez (1st), Dominic Bon (2nd).

It was a very controversial Round 8 as tempers flared at the starting moments of the race. At the start, it was Anton with a dynamite start from the second grid position up to the lead side-by-side with Coseteng. Upon exiting the first turn it was still a neck to neck battle between the two as the Ramirez brothers watched behind them. Upon entering the kink leading to the bus-stop, the two touched with Anton losing control running his car sideways. "It was a scary sight to see as we were running at speed. Mike (Anton) was all over the track. Luckily, we all managed to avoid his car," said Miguel Ramirez. The loss of control led to Anton's spinning out and hitting the bus-stop tire barriers. Anton entered the pits to have his car checked for damages, he went out again for one lap and decided to come into the pits for an early retirement. "My wheel was busted and I got a flat tire from the commotion," said Anton. Anton files a written protest against Coseteng after the incident.

Behind Kookie Ramirez came an excellent battle between Miguel Ramirez, Francis Godinez, Nilo Pazcoguin and Louis Ramirez, these 4 were running nose to tail and putting a great show for the spectators. Contact with the bus stop tires would drop Miguel Ramirez out of the race and a big off road excursion for Louis Ramirez would allow Godinez and Pazcoguin to move ahead. At the checkered it was the San Miguel Caltex Corolla of Jody Coseteng taking another win and a good points lead as the championship enters the second half. Kookie Ramirez would bring the Petron SRA Civic into second spot and privateer Francis Godinez would earn himself a podium spot and win his class as well. Louis Ramirez of Petron SRA would recover to win the Super Saloon A class with Nilo Pazcoguin of Havoline Caltex in second. Godinez took the Super Saloon B Class win with Monching Guitierrez taking the second spot.

The classified results were: Overall - Kookie Ramirez (1st), Francis Godinez (2nd), Monching Gutierrez (3rd). Div. A - Louis Ramirez (1st), Nilo Pazcoguin (2nd). Div. B - Francis Godinez (1st), Monching Gutierrez (2nd).

SVI Challenge Cup

It was all Dominic Bon in qualifying for the SVI Challenge Cup as the French Expat would take his SRA Racing Nissan Sentra to the fastest qualifying time and the only driver to break into the 1 minute 39 second times. Oscar Aguilar of Caltex Havoline would take second fastest time and he was the fastest C Class driver. Peewee Mendiola was third and Gaby de la Merced fourth. Daryl Flores set the fastest time of the Novice drivers.

Dominic Bon would take the lead as soon as the green light came on, behind him the pack was tight and close. Oscar Aguilar was leading the C Class drivers with Peewee Mendiola and Gaby de le Merced close behind.

Daryl Flores had the Novice Class lead and had already built a gap to other Novice drivers. Making progress up the field was Dominic Tan after a bad qualifying session. Bon had built a good lead but it would all come to an end with engine problems, and he would drop out of the race. So in the end it was Oscar Aguilar in the Havoline Corolla taking the win and the C Class win as well. He was followed by teammate Peewee Mendiola in second and Gaby de la Merced in third. The Novice class was won by Daryl Flores, with Dennis Uy of Velocity Motors taking the second spot and Dong Garcia in third.

The classified results were: Overall - Oscar Aguilar (1st), Peewee Mendiola (2nd), Gaby Dela Merced (3rd). Class C - Oscar Aguilar (1st), Peewee Mendiola (2nd). Gaby Dela Merced (3rd). Novice - Daryl Flores (1st), Dennis Uy (2nd).

A quick engine change allowed Dominic Bon to take the start of Round 8, which was held later in the afternoon. From the start it was obvious that the spare engine was not so good. At the end of lap 1 it was Oscar Aguilar in the lead with Peewee Mendiola behind, Bon had dropped to third spot and had the fast starting Menchie Francisco in the second Nissan close behind. Flores had taken the Novice Class lead once again with Dennis Uy in second and Dong Garcia in third. Novice driver Arpee Manhit was in for a rude crash as contact with another competitor would send his car crashing into the Turn 1 wall. The driver was not hurt but the car was damaged badly.

At the midway point Bon had dropped out of the race, and Aguilar had a small lead. Mendiola, Francisco and Dela Merced had a train of car as the two women drivers closed on the Corolla ahead of them. Lap after lap the Toyota, Nissan and Honda would run close together. Then with 2 laps to go, de le Merced would make a lunge to pass Francisco as the two entered Turn 1, contact was made and the two would drop down the order. John Sambo didn't have quite a good race after his Hyundai Elantra racecar was engulfed by a thick smoke as it passed by the main straight after his engine suffered a terrible blowby.

After all the excitement Aguilar would take a win Round 8 making it a double for the day. Peewee Mendiola would take second and Novice Driver Daryl Flores would take third. Flores also won the Novice Class with Dennis Uy second and Dong Garcia in third.