RACE REPORTS

Asian Festival of Speed 2001

Asian Festival of Speed 2001 image

Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted December 01, 2001 00:00

2001 series opener

Asia's biggest motorsports event met up with Luzon's biggest power blackout as power supply to the whole of Luzon was cut off at 3 AM April 7th due to a strike at NAPOCOR. A massive traffic jam also hounded the highways and roads leading to Subic Bay. The events on April 7th were the Qualifying sessions of Asian Formula 2000 and Asian Touring Car Championship.

The Japanese duo of Ao's racing topped both qualifying rounds for Division 2 of the Asian Touring Car Championship (ATCC). Takayuki Fujita took the pole for Round 1 while teammate, Kouji Matsuda blazed through the track with an even faster lap time taking the pole in Round 2. Meanwhile in Division 1, local hero George Ramirez of Team SRA made an astonishing performance in Round 1 qualifying to take 3rd overall and leading position for Division 1 ahead of Knights Motorsports' Lam Wai Hong and Kenny Lo. In Round 2, WK Longman Racing's Japanese ace took 2nd overall to lead Division 1.

The Japanese duo of Ao's racing topped both qualifying rounds for Division 2 of the Asian Touring Car Championship (ATCC). Takayuki Fujita took the pole for Round 1 while teammate, Kouji Matsuda blazed through the track with an even faster lap time taking the pole in Round 2. Meanwhile in Division 1, local hero George Ramirez of Team SRA made an astonishing performance in Round 1 qualifying to take 3rd overall and leading position for Division 1 ahead of Knights Motorsports' Lam Wai Hong and Kenny Lo. In Round 2, WK Longman Racing's Japanese ace took 2nd overall to lead Division 1.

In the race proper, Japanese driver Takayuki Fujita of Ao's Racing ran his Civic EK4 through the Subic track like a madman for rounds 1 and 2. He outdrove everyone in the turns and straights, taking the checkered for both rounds. In Division 1, Hong Kong driver Lam Wai Hong of Knight Motorsports drove his Alfa 156 to finish first in round 1 earning him 20 pts in the driver standings. Local hero George Ramirez came in second with a Honda Intergra and Paul Chan in also of Knight Motorsports came in third. The Peugeots unfortunately ran into engine problems and retired early in the first round. In Division 2, it was the same story for both rounds as Takayuki Fujita came in first with a stellar performance, AFOS veteran Danny Stacy Chau of Team IMSP drove his Civic EG to second and another Philippine racing hero Nilo Pazcoguin took home the bronze.

In Round 2, the race was stopped after two laps of racing when Lam Wai Hong lost control at the infamous hairpin at the end of the bumpy course causing much damage to his car. The race was restarted for 13 laps after the debris and an oil spill was cleared from the track. Japanese drive Takayuki Fujita made a comeback driving his Peugeot 306 to first place in division 2. Paul Chan improved his driving and came in second. Meanwhile local favorite George Ramirez finished third. The unique characteristic of this circuit has once again proven to suit the smaller Division 2 cars. This was clearly exhibited on the time sheets and the comparisons between the two Divisions suggest that the narrow circuit and sharp corners here gave an advantage to Division 2 specification cars.

In the Asian Formula 2000 series, SMR Team India dominated both rounds of qualifying with Karun Chandok and Asif Nazir taking front row for race day. Also in Round 1, fellow compatriot Kaushek Haritha took third position, but Denis Lian improved his time to give him a third position start.

The race was simply a no-contest since the race was dominated from start to finish by Team SMR India with their drivers Karun Chandok and Asif Nazir. Indian ace driver Karun Chandok stormed the track leading both 15-lap races from start to finish.

The Indian team would have taken all the spotlight for both races had it not been for the efforts of Singaporean driver Denis Lian who put up an excellent race finishing third in round 1 and second in round 2. Lone Filipino entry Mike Potenciano made quite a good showing in the first round but clearly the Indians were superior in both driving and engineering. He managed to finish 5th in the first round but retired mid-race in the second round. Coming into the second last corner of the lap 3, Mike Potenciano, misjudged the last chicane (Turn 8) and lost control of his car ahead of Nick Thomas forcing the latter to swerve to the left to avoid the spinning car No.33 driven by Potenciano. Unfortunately, Thomas corrected his car too aggressively causing his to spin 20m ahead with several cars following closely behind. Luckily the dramatic incident did not result in any collision and the two cars rejoined the race with Thomas at the back of the field and finished 3 places up in 7th.

In Round 2 of the race, Karun again dominated the race but all eyes were on the Singaporean Denis Lian and Asif Nazir who were fighting for the second step on the podium. Lian overtook second place starter, Asif Nazir, on the first lap and did well to maintain that position until the end of the race. Despite making several attempts to pass Lian, Nazir was never close enough to mount a serious attack until a failed maneuver at the last corner. Following behind the top three were Meckel Ali, Nick Thomas, N.Sathyanarayanan, Kaushek Haritha, Barry Forth and Thoru Jitsukawa.