When all was said and done at the 3rd AutoIndustriya.com GT5 Challenge at the 2012 Manila Auto Salon, two-time AI GT5 Challenge defending champion Terence Lallave was outrun by the young Jan Millard Lacuna on the challenging Cote d'Azur circuit, using the Lexus LFA.
Here's a recap of what went down after a thrilling afternoon of competition.
THE BATTLE ROUNDS
After driving a triple screen, triple PS3 set up for the qualifying rounds, organizers then set out to reorder the rigs for a head-to-head match up. Unlike previous editions of the AI GT5 Challenge wherein contestants faced-off against each other's ghost laps, this year contestants are to battle each other on the track with organizers observing to keep the race clean, handing out penalties as needed.
The Top 16 were organized into two groups, with Tier One comprised of finalists from Days 1 and 3, while Tier Two had finalists from Days 2 and 4, and systematically matched up against each other. The winning driver immediately advanced into the next round until only two remain for the final round, with the tracks getting progressively longer and the cars getting faster.
For the Round of 16, the car will be the 2007 MINI Cooper S. In the Round of 8, the 2010 Subaru Impreza STI Sedan will be the car of choice. For the Final 4, drivers used the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, while for the Final Round as well as the Battle for Third, the 2010 Lexus LFA was used. All driver aids were switched off (except for ABS, which was set to the lowest setting) and car damage was switched on.
With two driving simulator rigs, the higher qualifier on his respective day would be given the choice for the coin toss. The winner of the toss picks the rig, while the other player gets to draw the circuit to be used for the battle.
ROUND OF 16 – 2007 MINI Cooper S
For successfully qualifying for the Round of 16, each competitor present was given a set of Red Bull Racing F1 team pins from Casio EDIFICE as part of their celebration with Red Bull Racing's F1 constructors Championship and Sebastian Vettel's triple World Driver's Championship.
In Tier One, the first battle proved to be the most exciting, as defending champion Terence Lallave (D1-1st) matched up against another extremely quick opponent, Daryl Brady (D3-4th). The two faced off using the MINI Cooper S on the small Tsukuba Circuit, constantly trading paint and the lead for 5 laps. In the end, and on the final corner, Lallave took the lead and the win.
Next up was a battle on Autumn Ring Mini between professional drifter Gio Rodriguez (D1-2nd) and veteran competitor Joel Erickson Urbi (D3-3rd). Again, in the MINI Cooper S, the two exchanged paint until eventually Rodriguez took a commanding lead over Urbi, and advanced to the next round.
The third and fourth battles of the day were supposed to be between Gerhard Santos (D1-3rd) and GT5 Challenge regular Gav Quintos (D3-2nd), as well as Huebert Lim (D1-4th) versus Eduardo Suiza III (D3-1st). However, since both Santos and Lim were not able to arrive for the tournament proper, both Quintos and Suiza automatically advanced to the Top 8, finishing off Tier 1.
In Tier Two, Jan Millard Lacuna (D2-1st) was supposed to battle against the actual 4th placer on Day 4, but since he was unavailable, Ulysses Enriquez (D4-5th) took his place. On Cape Ring Inside, Lacuna ran away from Enriquez, building a lead of over half a lap and earning him a spot on the Top 8.
For the 2nd battle of Tier Two, Victor Buensuceso (D2-2nd), also a veteran of the AI GT5 Challenge, faced off against Jason Chuang (D4-3rd) on Circuito de Madrid Mini. The quick Buensuceso made an early mistake and slammed into the guardrail, damaging his MINI Cooper S and taking him out of contention. Chuang advanced.
The penultimate battle of the Round of 16 saw race driver and C! TRS Top Driver Challenge winner Joward Policarpio (D2-3rd) go up against Ian Ng Figues (D4-2nd) on the Grand Valley East Circuit. Policarpio built enough of a lead for Ng Figues to concede and hand Policarpio the win.
Aurick Go (D4-1st) was pitted against Ferdinand Gulle, Jr. (D2-4th) on Clubman Stage Route 5. Go, fresh from his qualifying performance on Day 4, led the entire way. However, Gulle mounted a fightback, and gained on Go. On the main straight on the very last lap, Aurick Go blocked Gulle and put him to the guardrail, and was subsequently penalized. Gulle was handed the win, and became the last player to advance to the Top 8.
TOP 8 – 2010 Subaru Impreza STI Sedan
For the Top 8, the Cooper S was swapped out for the more powerful Subaru Impreza STI Sedan. The first battle saw 2-time champ Terence Lallave (D1-1st) go up against drifter Gio Rodriguez (D1-2nd) on Special Stage Route 5. In the end, Lallave took enough of a lead to advance to the Final 4.
The second battle of the round saw the two drivers who automatically advanced due to the absence of their opponents go up against each other, as Gav Quintos (D3-2nd) and Eduardo Suiza III (D3-1st) raced each other on the Trial Mountain Circuit using the Impreza STI. In what was effectively a rematch of Day 3, Quintos took the win over Suiza, after the damage to the latter's car was enough to take him out of contention.
The 3rd battle of the top 8 had Jan Millard Lacuna (D2-1st) race against Jason Chuang (D4-2nd) on the Rome Street Circuit. After a tight battle on the opening laps, Chuang damaged his Impreza STI, giving Lacuna a clear advantage over the rest of the race. Lacuna advanced without incident to the Top 4.
The last battle to decide the Top 4 was between Joward Policarpio (D2-3rd) and Ferdinand Gulle, Jr. (D2-4th) on the Grand Valley Circuit. Using the Subaru Impreza STI, Gulle was able to get ahead with his smooth driving style and never looked back. Gulle subsequently advanced to the Top 4.
FINAL FOUR – 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Kicking off the final four was the battle between Terence Lallave (D1-1st) and Gav Quintos (D3-2nd) on the full version of Circuito de Madrid using the SLS AMG. At first it was tight, with both competitors hitting the wall at the exact same place on the hairpin. Eventually, Lallave ran away with the win and advanced to the final duel. Quintos would have to battle again for 3rd place.
The other pair, Jan Millard Lacuna (D2-1st) went up against Ferdinand Gulle, Jr. (D2-4th), and did so on the Laguna Seca Circuit. Gulle took an early lead as Lacuna struggled with the SLS AMG at first after cutting corners and being penalized by the game. After Lacuna settled down from his mistakes, he was able to catch up to Gulle, pressuring the driver to making a mistake. Lacuna overtook him and took the win. Gulle will face off against Quintos for 3rd place.
BATTLE FOR THIRD – 2010 Lexus LFA
To decide the 3rd placer, Ferdinand Gulle, Jr. (D2-4th) went head to head with Gav Quintos (D3-2nd) on the Tokyo R246 circuit. Gulle redeemed his performance from his previous loss from Lacuna, and outran Quintos. Gulle took 3rd place after a 5-lap heat.
DUEL FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP – 2010 Lexus LFA
In what was to be a virtual race for the books, 2-time AutoIndustriya.com GT5 Challenge Terence Lallave (D1-1st) would square off against the young prodigy, Jan Millard Lacuna (D2-1st), using the quick Lexus LFA. With Lallave winning the coin toss, Lacuna drew for the circuit to be used. Incidentally, the young Lacuna was able to get his favorite circuit: Cote d'Azur, otherwise known as the Monaco Street Circuit.
Off the line, Lallave had a slight advantage, able to take the lead with Lacuna in tow. However, at the Casino Section of the circuit, Lacuna was able to pull alongside. Lallave defended his position, taking the lead again into Mirabeau. After a few corners, however, Lallave made a mistake, hitting the wall, slightly damaging his car. Lacuna overtook him, and Lallave began to fight back. However, after a lap, the defending champion once again hit the wall, further damaging the car. Lacuna outclassed the champion, and with two laps yet to go, Lallave conceded, handing the championship to Lacuna.
Jan Millard Lacuna became only the 2nd other person to win the AutoIndustriya.com GT5 Challenge. The Top 3 winners each took home a Casio EDIFICE Watch, goodies from Lexus, MINI, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Mothers Car Care, VHT and Remixx Clothing. Rest assured, the 4th edition of the AutoIndustriya.com GT5 Challenge will be even more exciting.
The AutoIndustriya.com GT5 Challenge at the 2012 Manila Auto Salon is officially timed by Casio Edifice, powered by PLDT myDSL and brought to you by Lexus Manila, CATS Motors for Mercedes-Benz, MINI Global City, Motor Image Pilipinas for Subaru, Sony Philippines, Motul, Mothers, VHT, Remixx Clothing, DPE Wheels and Virtual Racing Rentals.