Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted August 11, 2010 09:51
Gio Rodriguez and Mike Tuason capture wins, championship lead
It was track invasion at the Clark International Speedway as the 5th round of the 2010 Lateral Drift Championship made its way there along with a series of support events including Time Attack, Drag Race, Car Show, and a Miss Lateral Drift Competition. More than thirty competitors made their way to the circuit for the penultimate leg of the drift series.
Pro Division Qualifiers
Heading the qualifiers for the Pro Division was Boodie Dabasol in his orange-colored retro Mitsubishi Lancer powered by a 4G63T engine from an Evo-III. Following in second was Jason "The Destroyer" Choachuy of Team AutoIndustriya.com-Kumho Tires aboard the RB25DET powered Nissan Cefiro. Raymond Ronquillo of R33 qualified third aboard his R33 Skyline. Following them were Audel Sison of Fern-C Racing, Alex Perez of Team Yellow Cab, Francisco Blanco of Team MOTUL/Autoplus, Pao Agregado, RJ Obiedo of Team Forced Speed, Gio Rodriguez of A-toy Bodykits-Falken Tires, Jeff Villanueva of Team Forced Speed, Kevin Tayao of Team Yellow Cab, Joma Montaner, Giovan Bernardino, Atoy Llave of A-toy Bodykits, Toni Arakaki of Team Suicidal, and John Boban of Team Driftmob.
Still hyped up from his top qualifier spot, Dabasol easily dispatched John Boban in his 1JZ-GTE powered Driftmob Skyline. Choachuy took Fil-Japanese Toni Arakaki of Team Suicidal to school with intense sideways action with a lot of tire smoke from the Kumho Tires of the Team AutoIndustriya.com Cefiro. With his eye on the prize, championship leader Perez made it short and sweet, as he beat Joma Montaner in two. Obiedo, who almost didn't make it due to electrical gremlins in his car succumbed to defeat from Rodriguez' consistent runs.
Atoy Llave was awarded the win as Ronquillo failed to give way after committing a serious swerving error. Sison of Fern-C Racing beat Giovan Bernardino aboard the just finished in time RB25DET powered Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe, which suffered a serious crash in the Amateur Division tandems. Agregado gets a free pass as Villaneuva pulled out due to mechanical problems in his car. Tayao manages to slide past Blanco in a heated battle advancing to the Elite 8.
The more seasoned Tayao would easily defeat Llave who was still getting a feel of his newly built 1JZ-GTE powered R34-look A31 Cefiro. A heated battle ensued between Dabasol and Rodriguez prompting judges to call for a "One More Time", Rodriguez would advance to the Top-4. Agregado would be pitted against Choachuy, the young Agregado cracked under tremendous pressure put on him by "The Destroyer" during their second run and spun out. Perez would take a relatively easy time thanks to Sison's limping just finished in time for the tandems car.
In the semi-final Top-4 tandems the pairings would be between Choachuy and Tayao; while Perez goes against Rodriguez. It was a hard fought battle for Perez and Rodriguez as the two fought to secure the top spot in the overall standings. Rodriguez would however take the win and advance to the finals, while Perez settles for the battle for third. It was a hair-raising battle between Choachuy and Tayao as they were inches apart, however Tayao in the trail car went too close and spun out on the third corner handing the win over to Choachuy.
Pro Championship Battle
It was teammate rivalry between Tayao and Perez for the final podium spot. It was a crucial run for Perez, as he had to win it at all odds to keep his title hopes alive. Errors in both runs by Tayao simply gave the win to his teammate.
It was an epic battle for the championship between Choachuy and Rodriguez as they figured in a very close duel for the first run. However, an early mistake in the second run quickly handed over the victory to Rodriguez.
Amateur Division Qualifiers
Qualifying in top spot for the Amateurs was Mike Tuason who steered through the course in perfect form aboard the TRS Mazda BT-50. Coming in second was Ric "Skeletonman" Wee of Team AutoIndustriya.com-Kumho Tires wowing the judges with his best ever qualifying spot.
Only total of 13 Amateur Division competitors came to Clark, therefore all drivers were included in the Top-16 tandems with the Top 3 qualifiers getting bye-runs. They were Tuason, Wee and Bjorn Ongtiaobok. Luckily for first time competitor Ralph Tan, his opponent Bingbong Lingat withrew from competition on raceday and received a free pass to the Elite-8 thanks to a bye-run as well.
It was an early face-off for Yellow Cab's Ryan Agoncillo and Agojo-Goodyear's Norman Agojo in the Top-16 with Agojo knocking out Agoncillo with his consistent slides to advance to the Elite-8. Jayson Lao easily dispatched greenhorn Cocoy Dalugdog who came all the way from Davao City. Last round's winner Kar Montaner tried to redeem himself from a dismal qualifying session by defeating Bingo Valero in two. It was a disastrous duel between Rosca and Panaligan as the latter crashed his car into Rosca's Cefiro head-on. This caused a delay as race officials had to move the cars to a safe area before they could resume. Panaligan was awarded the win but would withdraw due to severe car damage.
Montaner handed over the win to Wee in their second heat as he failed to let Wee pass when he botched his run. Tan would not be so lucky in the Elite-8 as Agojo sends him home early. Ongtiaobok showed Lao how it's properly done as he advances to the Top 4. Mike Tuason gets a free pass to the Top-4 with Panaligan out of contention.
Tuason continued to impress with his consistent driving as he fends off Agojo to advance to the finals. Ongtiabok on the other hand went against Wee who he dispatched with ease.
Amateur Championship Battle
In the battle for third, it was Agojo against Wee. Agojo showed better composure being a more experienced tandem driver and easily took the victory from Wee who settled for fourth, his best finish so far.
Mike Tuason was awarded the default win as he was pitted against teammate Bjorn Ongtiaobok as they were sharing the same vehicle. Being the higher qualifier, Tuason was awarded the victory.The series championship battle gets more exciting with the points getting even closer approaching the final round in Eastwood City on August 28-29. For the Amateur Division, Mike Tuason now leads the championship with 508 points followed by Norman Agojo with 485 points and Bjorn Ongtiaobok with 477.5. Early series leader Mark Rosca slides down to fourth at 460 points with his mishap from this leg. Ryan Agoncillo is in close fifth with 424 points.
In the Pro Division, Gio Rodriguez is now leading the championship fresh from his win with 504 points, while Alex Perez slides down to second with 494.5 points. Francisco Blanco and Jason Choachuy will closely contend the third position with one point separating them. Blanco has 431, while Choachuy has 430 points. However, not to be taken out of the equation is Raymond Ronquillo in close fifth with 416 points.
The fifth round of the championship moves to the Clark International Speedway on July 31 to August 1. The 2010 Glade Sport Lateral Drift Pro-Am Championship is also supported by PLDT MyDSL, M-150, Goodyear, Falken, Hankook, Starfire, Concept One, FixStop, AutoIndustriya.com, Wave89.1, TopGear Magazine, and Stoplight.