The tightest ever 1-2-3 finish in Media Challenge history marked the rain-drenched final round of the Civic Media Challenge held on the tarmac grounds of the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park last Saturday.
Team Philippine Star's Lester Dizon and Brian Afuang came through with clutch performances to pip second placer Team C! Magazine Auto Extreme by a mere 1.63 seconds. The best times of three of four team members are counted towards the team record.
C! Magazine-Auto Extreme, led this time by Kenneth Quintal with strong support from James Deakin and Kevin Limjoco, was the fastest team following the first heat in sunny conditions.
But with rain threatening to fall, Dizon came up with his best performance of the Media challenge, improving on his first heat time by more than 8 seconds, finishing fifth fastest of the day and pulling his team to the top of the podium for the round.
Coming in third was Team Manila Bulletin, led again by the two-time Media Challenge Driver of the Year Anjo Perez who had the third fastest time of day set in the first heat. Strong support came from Aris Ilagan but this was not enough as the Team C! -Auto Extreme beat Manila Bulletin by just seven hundredth of a second.
Meanwhile in the individual competition, Dodjie Aguila of Team DRP-K-lite-Today finally lived up to his billing as one of the favorites, being fastest driver of last year's Media Challenge. Aguila drove a flawless second heat to set the fastest time of day, a 1:27.03 just before rain began to fall and making the course too slippery for rivals to improve on their performance.
Second to Aguila was Jess Garcia of Team DZRH, among the consistent podium finishers in the four rounds of the Media Challenge using 2003 Civic competition vehicles powered by a 1.6-liter Honda VTEC 3 engine, the most powerful engine in its class with 130 horsepower.
Perez tried valiantly to improve on his first heat time of 1:29.23 but even his proven driving skills and the grippy Michelin tires could not overcome the wet conditions.
Other members of media who participated in this year's Civic Media Challenge, the most exciting in six years, represented ABS-CBN News, Auto Review, Motoring Today, Auto Extreme and Associated Press from television; DZBB, DZMM, DZEC, DZRH and 103.5 K-Lite from radio; Business World, Manila Bulletin, The Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard, Today, C! Magazine, Gadgets, and Sport Weekly from print. Also participating are writers from Autoindustriya.com, Dragracingpinoy.com and Drive.com.ph.
The 2003 Civic Media Challenge is organized by ADBM Resources in partnership with Activity Asia Association and Roadwise Motoring School and is sponsored by Caltex Havoline, Michelin, the official tire supplier thru its Philippine distributor Tiara Commercial & Industrial Corporation; Nodalos Trading, and Aitech.