Text: Brent Co / Photos: Dean Ang | posted May 13, 2011 17:55
Perez back in winning form at the 2011 GBX Cup
The 2011 Lateral Drift Championship moved to the historic National Grandstand in Luneta Park, Manila for the third round of the series. Billed the GBX Cup as part of the Fast and Furious 5-movie kick-off, which also featured the Hot Summer Nights car show. A total of 22 drivers participated in this season's first street track event.
Qualifying on top was defending champion Alex Perez of Team Yellow Cab, who was a man on a mission after missing out on important wins on the opening legs at Clark International Speedway two weeks prior. Goodyear-sponsored Norman Agojo followed in second, his best qualifying position so far. Team A-toy Customs-Glade-Falken Tires Gio Rodriguez qualified for third followed by Kar Montaner, Raymond Ronquillo of R33, Ryan Agoncillo of Team Yellow Cab, Boodie Dabasol, Joma Motaner, Paolo Agregado, and Atoy Llave of Team A-toy Customs-Rockstar-Falken Tires to round up the Top-10 qualifiers.
A new ruling allowed drivers who were not able to qualify to run in a "loser's bracket" second qualifier to fill-in the remaining Top-16 slots. This is provided that more than half of the qualifiers were not able to get through the first qualifying. Getting through the second qualifier were Kevin Tayao of Team Yellow Cab, Rhett del Rosario, Francisco Blanco of Motul-Autoplus, Audel Sison of Autocraft, John Boban of Driftmob, and Ralph Tan.
Leading off the Top-16 tandem runs was Perez against Tan, with Perez easily getting through to the Top-8. Dabasol drove consistently to advance over Joma Montaner who was sharing a car with his son Kar, after mechanical gremlins took over his Nissan powered Toyota Celica. Agregado got a virtual free pass to the next round when Blanco decided to call it a day after his powerful Nissan S13 broke its driveshaft. Ronquillo's smooth and consistent drive was the key to defeating Tayao, who was still having problems driving his Nissan SR20DET powered Toyota AE86. Audel Sison was able to advance over Gio Rodriguez not after the two had a minor collision causing damage to both cars. Feeling in the zone, Agojo out-drove John Boban who is trying to make a comeback after a disappointing 2010 season with his car consistently in the shop.
Still with his eye on the prize, Perez continued his rampage as he advances ahead of Dabasol in the Top-4. Agregado's consitent drive throughout the day paid off as he defeats Kar Montaner for a slot in the Top-4. Ronquillo wanted payback after a disappointing call in Round 2 by the judges and handed Sison his just desserts as he defeats him to advance to the next round. It was a Nissan Silvia battle between Agoncillo (S13) and Agojo (S15) as the two tried to outdo each other for the last spot in the Top-4; Agoncillo would emerge the victor.
As if on tunnel vision with only the championship battle in sight, Perez continued further towards the prize as he relegates Agregado to battle for third. Continuing his hot streak, high-rollin' Ronquillo defeated Agoncillo for a chance to battle for the top prize against Perez.
Battle for Third
In the battle for third, a consistent drive and cheers from the fans fueled the fire in Agoncillo as he made consistently good runs besting out Agregado for the final podium spot.
Pressure mounted on Perez as he battled against Ronquillo who has had a history of pulling out cards under his sleeves in crucial runs. However, Perez was really serious about getting back to winning form as the two contested in two high-intensity runs which went as far as several reviews on the highlight reel by the judges to determine the victor. In the end, it would be Alex Perez taking home a hard-earned first place over Ronquillo who settled for second.