Text: Andre Arellano / Photos: Brent Co | posted June 08, 2001 06:00
Coseteng and Ramirez split wins
Once again the two major touring car championship are brought together as the teams running a combined Philippine National Touring Car Championship and Blaze Super Saloon Championship. With a his weight handicapping of 50 kilos for his 3 wins Ferdie Ong was only able to pick up a second and a third place result. This time it was the Caltex Toms driver Jody Coseteng who won Round 5 and Petron SRA driver Kookie Ramirez who won Round 6.
At the start of Round 5, Kookie Ramirez (Petron SRA) was able to keep his position but by the exit of turn 3 which leads onto the main straight he knew he was in trouble. The mechanical gremlin that plagued him in Round 2 was back and the car was not running at full song and Coseteng and Ong slipped by down the 800m straight. After the hairpin Nilo Pazcoguin (Havoline /TOMS) also slipped by Ramirez before the Chicane. So as the cars came around for the first lap it was Coseteng, Ong, Pazcoguin, K. Ramirez, M. Ramirez, Edgen Dyliacco and Benedict de la Cruz. Bon was the first of the Super Saloon C drivers. By the next lap Kookie Ramirez had dropped down behind the TOMS Corolla of Edgen Dyliacco.
At the front Ong was putting pressure on Jody Coseteng, putting his Civic inside the Corolla at every opportunity. Behind them Nilo Pazcoguin has established his third position and first in Super Saloon B, but he could not close on the leading duo. Dominic Bon had moved himself to the head of the Super Saloon C group as well as ahead of some of the B and A drivers.
By mid distance Kookie Ramirez had found a solution to his electrical problem and was starting to move closer to the leaders. First to fall was Benedict de la Cruz, who with a slight error at the chicane made it easy for Ramirez. At the front after some contact Ong had decided to keep his second position safe and maintain his gap to third place Pazcoguin. Pazcoguin was clear of the chasing cars of Mike Aguilar and Miguel Ramirez and a solid lead in Super Saloon B. Meanwhile Kookie Ramirez had caught and past Edgen Dyliacco and was pushing hard to catch brother Miguel and Aguilar of Caltex Havoline.
Dominic Bon was clear of the chasing pack of Super Saloon pack. Ricardo Loi (Le Opera/GNC) had dropped out with transmission problems. On the penultimate lap Kookie Ramirez was able to slip brother Miguel for fifth place. At the front Jody Coseteng would take the win with Ferdie Ong second and Nilo Pazcoguin in third. Nilo was also the first of the Super Saloon B drivers with Mike Aguilar in second and Benedict de la Cruz in third for the group of drivers. Super Saloon C was the domain of Dominic Bon for the win and Tom Pastor in second, Loi did not finish 70% of the race and was considered a DNF.
In Round 6 it was get up and go for Kookie Ramirez who took the lead at the start and led the first lap. It was Coseteng following him through on that lap with Ong, Miguel Ramirez and a row of car right behind. Contact between Bon and Mike Potenciano (ZED/Gulf Oil) spun the Bon's car into the path of Carlos Anton and putting both cars out of the race. Bon was quite upset with the over ambitious move by Potenciano and was fuming in the pits. De la Cruz had gotten ahead of Pazcoguin and was heading the Super Saloon B drivers. Things then settled down as the car became strung out.
At about mid distance a slight error by Aguilar would cause his Civic to clip the wall at Turn 3 and send his car into the outside barrier. At the front Kookie Ramirez had pulled a small gap but Coseteng was always there, at times the gap was up to 2 seconds then it would drop down to less than 1. Anytime Ramirez would ease up the gap would close. De la Cruz still held the lead of Super Saloon B and had a small gap to Pazcoguin. Riccardo Loi (Le Opera/GNC) was the first of the Super Saloon C drivers. Then Tom pastor blew his engine on long straight to the hairpin leaving a huge trail of oil for the other drivers to avoid.
Things were quiet the rest of the way, Kookie Ramirez was able to keep his lead all the way in an excellent drive. Coseteng was the only car to stay with him as these two motored away from the rest of the field and was a clear second place. Third was Ong who was biding his time because he knows that these two are going to have weight added for these two wins and his weight handicap would be a lot less. He was looking forward to the next round. Miguel Ramirez was a close fourth also planing for the next race.
Super Saloon B was won by Benedict de la Cruz in a good drive that proves he was the speed if he can get some good luck, stay out of trouble he can win the class. Second was Nilo Pazcoguin in a good steady drive that still has him in the B Championship lead. Third was Carlo Pastor (Team TEC) with a steady drive which saw him outlast the other competitors. Riccardo Loi (Le Opera/GNC) was the only Super Saloon C drivers to finish and despite leading the class all the way, he was happy to earn points over his rivals.