RACE REPORTS

Merzei, Burdon split wins in inaugural Asian V8 Championship weekend

Merzei, Burdon split wins in inaugural Asian V8 Championship weekend image

Text: EZ Ligaya / Photos: EZ Ligaya | posted April 29, 2014 16:43

Much-hyped Asian V8 attacts handful of participants to Clark Speedway

After months of waiting, the ASIAN V8 Championship series started its engines at the Clark International Speedway with five cars.

This stock-car racing series will be the stepping stone for local and international drivers who want to eventually enter the world of NASCAR.

Qualifying ended with the Philippines taking the lead, with Enzo Pastor easily outpacing his closest rival, Josh Burdon, by 2 seconds, clocking in a pole-position time of 2:05.126 and 2:07.052, respectively. Japanese driver Kunihiro Iwatsuki took the third spot on the grid for race one with the time of 2:11.405.

The races over the weekend were exciting and show unlimited potential for the growth of the sport. Because all the cars are set up in the same way, it’s a series to measure the skills and the size of the ball bearings of the drivers, who will take these monster vehicles to the edge and vie for the top spot on the podium.

In Race 1 of the Pro Class, it was Filipino colors that were waving with Enzo and Don Pastor taking positions one and two, while Josh Burdon from Australia clinched the third step on the podium. In the Open Class. After a disaster-filled opening lap, with Iwatsuki washing out on the first lap of the race and Filipino-American driver Pastor also failing to finish, it was a battle between Macau driver Joe Merszei, a WTC driver and regular competitor in the Macau GP driving Formula 3, and Stefano Marrini, an Italian driver who competed in the World Rally Championship.

Merzei eventually takes the top spot, followed by Marrini.

Race 2 of the Pro Class opened with Enzo Pastor battling it out with the Tasmanian Burdon. Don Pastor had to sit this battle out due to some technical problems from Race 1. Enzo and Burdon are both experienced in Euro NASCAR and Formula 3. In addition, Burdon also has experience running the Australian V8 Ute series.

With both drivers exchanging the lead almost every lap, the spectators were truly given one hell of a show to watch. Crowds were cheering for our local driver, willing him to take the checkered flag. But Burdon took the win, with Enzo Pastor taking second spot. Marrini took the third spot on the podium.

For the Open Class, everything finally came together for Iwatsuki as he stormed his way from the back of the grid, grabbing the lead and holding on to it despite efforts from Don Pastor, who climbed the ladder taking second spot. Marrini took the third step on the podium.

Iwatsuki was elated with his victory, saying it has always been a dream of his to be able to take the wheel of these powerful V8s and his win the just made his dream a reality better than he imagined.

The championship moves to the Batangas Racing Circuit on June 7 & 8 for the third and fourth rounds.