Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted July 12, 2001 23:34
Accusations were flying between the drivers as the fault of the incidents
It was an eventful day for the Blaze Super Saloon competitors at the Subic International Raceway. An ultra close qualifying grid and some over aggressive saw many an incident and more than as few drivers were called to visit the stewards. In the end Mike Potenciano (ZED/Gulf Oil) would earn a pole position and win Round 9 and Benedict de la Cruz (Rota/Speedwelle) would win Round 10. It was Nilo Pazcoguin (Havoline Toms Asia) who made the most headway as he closed the gap in the championship. There were several C drivers trying out the waters for next year and the competition in Super Saloon C is getting fiercer.
In the 9th round, it was Potenciano who would take the lead as de la Cruz and Kookie Ramirez (Petron SRA) slotted behind him. At the hairpin Ferdie Ong (Rota Speedwelle) hit Louis Ramirez (Petron SRA) in the back, then Pazcoguin piled into them. The damage would cause Ong to drop out of the race. The contact would cause Pazcoguin and Miguel Ramirez (SRA) to drop down the order behind all the cars. Dominic Bon was the first of the Super Saloon C with fast starting pair of Francis Godinez and Tom Pastor of Team TEC in second third as they had slipped around Riccardo Loi (Le Opera/GNC). On Lap 4 a miscalculation by Kookie Ramirez caused contact with de la Cruz sending him off the track and to the rear of the field.
On lap 5 Pazcoguin had slipped around both the privateers Godinez and Bon to take fifth position, then Godinez would pass Bon for the C Class lead on lap 6. Potenciano had a good lead, but was going to lose it as on Lap 8 as the pace car would come out to clean up debris and close up the field.
After 3 laps behind the Integra Pace Car, the field was turned loose to more confusion Mike Aguilar and Pazcoguin would pass Louis Ramirez before the green flag was shown. At the front Potenciano would get a quick lead but would spin at the hairpin and allow Kookie Ramirez and Pazcoguin through to take the lead. So as the cars came around for the checkered flag it was Ramirez, Pazcoguin and Potenciano, but several drivers were to be penalized so there were quite a few changes to the final results. One of them would be Kookie Ramirez.
The Official results were as follows, First Place goes to Mike Potenciano (ZED Gulf Oil) with Kookie Ramirez (Petron SRA) in second and Nilo Pazcoguin (Havoline Toms Asia) in Third. Nilo would win First in the Super Saloon B with Benedict de la Cruz (Rota Speedwelle) taking Second and Mike Aguilar (Caltex Havoline) in Third. The Super Saloon C battle was all Dominic Bon with Riccardo Loi (Le Opera GNC) in Second and Francis Godinez in Third.
As the green light came on in Round 10, it was Potenciano with the good getaway and led as they exited Turn 3 onto the straight leading to the hairpin. His engine was not up to the task and he was past by most of the field on the straight. As they came to the hairpin de la Cruz had a clear lead but behind him things were about to break loose. Contact between the two Petron SRA Civic's caused Kookie Ramirez to half spin, and slowed up Louis Ramirez. This allowed Ong to get a run and squeeze through the middle of the two SRA Civic's, then disaster for the series leader as he and Louis Ramirez made contact and his car ended up in the tire barriers. In the confusion Kookie Ramirez would drop back behind Dominic Bon. So at the end of this eventful first lap the order was de la Cruz, Louis Ramirez and Nilo Pazcoguin. Benedict de la Cruz was also leading the Super Saloon B drivers and Dominic Bon was leading the Super Saloon C drivers.
On lap 3. Kookie Ramirez would drop out of the race due to some contact with Bon. Lap 4 and Pazcoguin would pass Louis Ramirez for second. In the C battle Godinez would force his way past Loi, and Carlo Pastor would take advantage of the commotion to bump past Loi as well. At the front de la Cruz was safe and far from any of the pursuers, but the Class C battle was hotting up as Bon, Godinez, Pastor and Loi were running close together. Lap 8 and Godinez had slipped around Bon to take first in Class C while Mon Lindo had joined the group and had gotten around Loi. Potenciano had also dropped out with engine problems. It was now lap 9, Louis Ramirez had found away around Pazcoguin to take second, and Lindo had slipped around Pastor for Third in Class C.
On the next lap Pazcoguin found his way back to second as he moved around Louis Ramirez once again. These two were trading places on every lap. Miguel Ramirez dropped out with overheating problems on Lap 10, in the meantime Pastor would get around Mon Lindo once again. Lots of action to come as on the next lap Bon was black flagged for a dangling exhaust, a legacy of the contact with Kookie Ramirez. So as the cars crossed the finish line it was de la Cruz followed by Louis Ramirez , who however would be disqualified with a car that was 5 pounds under weight. So second would be Pazcoguin and Aguilar in third, the B Class results were the same as the overall as none of the A drivers were around at the finish. In the Super Saloon C battle it was Godinez followed by Lindo and Loi.
So it was an eventful weekend of races, with accusations flying between the drivers as the fault of the incidents, the stewards meeting way into the night, imagine what it will be like next weekend.