ISUZU Philippines Corp. has once again rewritten the annals of fuel-economy contests with the staging of �Isuzu Challenge 2007�, a fun-filled 1,764-kilometer road trip from Luzon all the way to Mindanao featuring the fuel-efficient Alterra 4x2 M/T, D-MAX 4x2 M/T and Crosswind Sportivo M/T.

The Isuzu Challenge is a yearly event organized by IPC to showcase the fuel-efficiency of Isuzu�s diesel engines. To further maximize the economy of Isuzu diesels, IPC partnered with Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, which provided its New and Improved Shell Diesoline Ultra with Fuel Economy Formula to ensure fuel efficiency for all participating Isuzu vehicles.

This year�s challenge to Isuzu Challenge participants was: �Can you go the distance?� Nine teams�three each for the Alterra, D-MAX and Crosswind categories�stepped up the plate and drove three laps of strategic driving from August 21 to 26.

The Alterra category featured the pairings of Oscar Nuke and David Aquino; Ronald Aguto and Hazel Aguto; and Anjo Perez and Pinky Colmenares. The D-MAX category, meanwhile, had the tandems of Dennis Belda and Renato Palad Jr.; Jesus Christian Alday and Pastor Angulo; and Arcadio Cabuyao and Buenaventura Cabuyao. Finally, the Crosswind category was contested by the duos of James Frederick Villaflores and Michael Villaflores; Ronaldo Cruz and Fortunato Santos; and Ron de los Reyes and Lester Dizon.

All participants were either Isuzu customers or members of the media. Also, IPC provided all the stock vehicles used in the contest to guarantee parity. The teams were made to drive with the air-conditioner on to simulate real-world driving conditions.

The latest edition of the Isuzu Challenge has been the grandest ever since its introduction in 2002. This year�s version covered six regions, four islands and two RORO trips over six fun-filled days. The event kicked off at Shell�s Nagtahan station in Manila. The first lap saw the convoy driving a total of 640 kilometers through Camarines Sur and to Shell�s station in Pampang, Sorsogon. In the second lap, the teams passed through San Juanico Bridge and the MacArthur Shrine to reach Shell�s station in Liloan, Leyte�increasing the trip distance to 1,130 kilometers. The third and last lap had the group passing by Isuzu Cagayan de Oro and the Del Monte Golf Club before finishing the entire journey at Shell�s station on MacArthur Highway in Davao City for a total distance of 1,764 kilometers.

Each lap winner won a special prize. More importantly, Isuzu Challenge 2007 incorporated fun activities along the way. These side challenges allowed the teams to win for more special prizes, although their results did not affect the teams� overall mileage figures. The activities included photo-taking at Mayon Volcano, San Juanico Bridge, the MacArthur Shrine, and the Del Monte Horseback Riding Field; golf-driving at the Del Monte Golf Club; wakeboarding at the Camsur Watersports Camp; videoke challenge at Wayang-Wayang Hotel in Allen, Samar; spaghetti-and-marshmallow tower-building on a ferry en route to Lipata in Surigao City; and bowling at Xavier Estates Hotel in Cagayan de Oro.

As fun as the event might have been, there could only be one winning team per category. The Alterra category was won by Nuke and Aquino, who managed to squeeze 24.717 kilometers to a liter from their vehicle. The D-MAX category was dominated by Belda and Palad, who posted a mileage of 24.172 kilometers to a liter. The Crosswind category was taken by the media pair of de los Reyes and Dizon, who got 22.581 kilometers per liter from their vehicle.

Both the 53-year-old Nuke and the 46-year-old Aquino were Isuzu Challenge veterans. Businessman Nuke won first place in 2003 in the Trooper category, while gardening enthusiast Aquino likewise topped the Trooper category the following year.

Buddies Belda and Palad were the youngest in the group�just 22 and 24 years of age, respectively. Belda assists in his family�s general merchandise business, with Palad accompanying him on delivery trips.

De los Reyes, 53, is the producer and host of the Auto Review motoring TV show, while Dizon, 42, is the editor of Motorcycle magazine. Both were also Isuzu Challenge veterans.

For their efforts, the winning teams each received P100,000 in cash, a trophy and giveaways. The first and second runners-up were awarded P50,000 and P25,000, plus trophies and giveaways.

�With Isuzu Challenge 2007, we were able to show that achieving fuel economy need not be boring,� said IPC president Keiji Takeda. �Especially not when you�re driving fun but hardworking vehicles like the Alterra, the D-MAX and the Crosswind. Test-drive an Isuzu today so you too can go the distance.�

The Isuzu Challenge 2007 is sponsored by Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation. Other supporters of the event include Star Communications Holdings Corporation, Oceanic Shipping Corporation, and Winterpine Marketing Corporation.