Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted April 18, 2004 10:00
Kookie Ramirez makes a clean sweep of season opener
The season opener of the BRC Casino Filipino Grand Prix ran as the support races for the Asian Formula 3 opening rounds. The BRC Touring Car Series saw some serious racing action as it welcomes the racing calendar for an action packed season.
In the BRC Touring Car Championship, Petron SRA driver Kookie Ramirez swept both rounds in a blistering pace marginally ahead in the lead. While in the BRC Junior Touring Car Championship, it was a hard fought race between Miguel Lazaro of Auto Solutions Racing and Renan Morales of Shift Racing Garage as they split the wins in both rounds.
It was Kookie Ramirez at the lead right from the very start of the first round. Dominic Bon held a demonic pace trying to catch up to Ramirez. Unfortunately, after 12 laps of abuse to the oil pan by jumping the curbs in the chicane, the engine decided to take a rest ending his race. It was a hard fought battle behind them with Ferdie Ong, Rey Reyes and Miguel Ramirez charging at each other. But Ong would manage to pull away and Miguel Ramirez overtakes Reyes towards the end of the race.
The race ended with Kookie Ramirez in 1st, Ong in 2nd, Miguel Ramirez in 3rd, Rey Reyes in 4th, and Philip Alvendia in 5th. However due to a technical infraction discovered in the post-race scrutineering, Ong was disqualified, moving Miguel Ramirez to 2nd, Reyes to 3rd and Alvendia to 4th.
In the second round, Petron SRA driver Kookie Ramirez would pull away again at the start but was closely followed by Dominic Bon. Behind them was Ferdie Ong followed by Rey Reyes of Team AutoKlasse, Philip Alvendia of Team Malayan Insurance Bridgestone A3 Motorsport, and Miguel Ramirez of Petron SRA. Miguel Ramirez would later find a way through Alvendia and Reyes to get behind Ong. In lap 4, Ong's car would start to emit white smoke as he was apparently experiencing engine problems from the hard charging Miguel Ramirez. By the 7th lap, Ong would start to slow down his pace and be overtaken by Miguel Ramirez at the chicane. Behind them was an exciting duel between Alvendia and Reyes, who would soon pass the limping Ong who would continue his slowdown to preserve his engine.The hard charging Miguel Ramirez would close in on Bon and manage to take the advantage but would later lose it on the 10th lap as Bon defended until the finish for a second place podium finish.
The race ended with Kookie Ramirez in 1st, Bon in 2nd, Miguel Ramirez in 3rd, Rey Reyes 4th, and Philip Alvendia in 5th place.
It was an exciting duel in the BRC Junior Touring Car Championship with Miguel Lazaro of Auto Solutions Racing and Renan Morales of Shift Racing Garage who engaged in a tight battle as they traded places every lap, but it would be Morales who would emerge as the victor. Christian Aguilar of Caltex Havoline Racing finished in far third 15 seconds behind. While Ford Lynx Cup graduate Dalia Guerrero rounded up the finishers in fourth. Early retirees from the race were Thirdie Icasas of Intelco Racing, who retired in the first lap, while Peewee Mendiola retired on the 3rd lap.