Recently, six teams attempted – and broke – the hallowed record of Ramirez in the Petron XTra Miles Challenge, an event designed to show how far a well maintained and skillfully-driven vehicle can travel on one full tank of Petron XTra Unleaded gasoline in varying conditions over a representative selection of Philippine roads (specifically in Luzon). Kabankalan (Negros Occidental)-based brothers Emilio ("Tootsie") and Emmanuel ("Mansu") Zayco went farthest by traveling 1,400 kilometers in their 1300cc CVT (continuously variable transmission) Honda Jazz, breaking Ramirez' record by 286 kilometers. With the new record, the brothers' netted a Php 100,000 first place reward for the longest distance traveled on a tank of Petron XTra Unleaded, plus Php 20,000 for logging 1,000 kilometers and Php 50,000 for breaching the 1,114-kilometer barrier.
Second place was claimed by The 37th Team, a husband-and-wife tandem based in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. Engineer Michael Asuncion and senior medical technologist Grace Asuncion logged a distance traveled of 1390 kilometers, bagging a Php 75,000 reward (for second place), along with Php 20,000 for logging 1,000 kilometers and Php 50,000 for breaching the 1,114-kilometer barrier.
Team AR (or Team AutoReview), composed of AutoReview producer-host (and eco-run veteran) Ron de los Reyes and AutoReview segment host Julienne Cruz, bagged third place with 1,333 kilometers of distance run. The last podium finish enabled them to land a Php 50,000 third place prize, plus Php 20,000 for logging 1,000 kilometers and Php 50,000 for breaching the 1,114-kilometer barrier.
Fourth place was taken by the Team R tandem of Randolph Mencias and Allen Abarintos, with 1316.3 kilometers traveled. Fifth place went to Team de Perio (husband-and-wife tandem Mark and Mina de Perio) with 1,322 kilometers logged, while Team Eco Run (Honda Cars Makati human resource officer Jann Antonio and Honda Cars Shaw sales executive Randy Ravenna) logged 1,280 kilometers traveled. The aforementioned three teams each won Php 20,000 for logging 1,000 kilometers and Php 50,000 for breaching the 1,114-kilometer barrier.
Observed and certified by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) and select members of the Car Awards Group Inc (CAGI), the Petron XTra Miles Challenge started at the Petron station in Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte) and ended up in Nabua, a town 30 kilometers south east from Naga City (Camarines Sur). 11 vehicles and 15 marshals from the Applied Leisure in Sales and Operations Group (ALSO Group) served as backup in case trouble developed. Stopovers will only be held during the night (for rest purposes), while teams will take a break for relief every two to three hours, and all vehicles will use Petron Xtra Unleaded fuel obtained from Petron service stations along the route.
Day one saw the teams fill up their vehicles to the brim with Petron Xtra Unleaded at the Petron station on the Pagudpud-Bangui border, then traveled 449 kilometers to the La Maja Rica hotel in Tarlac for an overnight stopover. Day two saw the teams endure nearly 12 straight hours of driving as they went through a 520 kilometer jaunt from Tarlac to Naga, passing through Metro Manila at roughly five to six in the morning. Day three saw competitors travel 228 kilometers, all the way to the southernmost tip of Luzon (Matnog town in Sorsogon), cross the San Bernardino Strait via the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (using Roll-On, Roll-Off ships or RORO ships) and end up in the Visayas region (specifically the town of Allen, a fifth class municipality at the northernmost tip of Samar). A reconnaissance of the Allen roads showed that they were unsafe for both machines and competitors, so competitors, marshals and organizers rested overnight in Allen by the end of day three. By day four, competitors were storming back to Matnog port on a 203-kilometer runout back to Nabua in an attempt to finish off their cars' supply of fuel.
The taxing requirements needed for this type of driving was best summed up by AutoReview producer-host Ron de los Reyes, who compared econorun driving to boxing. "Both use vision, the arms, the body and the feet. The main difference is, in boxing, one's goal is to hit the scoring targets of an opponent while in driving, your goal is NOT to hit anybody or anything! While doing long (10- 12 hours daily) hours of driving in the XMC, it dawned to me that econo driving is also like boxing. In boxing you have to have a sharp vision to be able to focus on your targets and at the same time to be able to defend yourself from your opponent's attacks and maneuvers. The arms and hands are also the main artillery of a boxer as he steers them to go for straights, jabs, left hooks, right crosses and uppercuts. In driving, especially in fuel economy driving, the driver has to have a clear vision to see the roads ahead as well as on the sides and the rears. His hands use driving gloves instead of the boxing gloves but these are used to hold the car's steering wheel and the stick shift. It is important for the driver to steer accurately so as not to hit a pedestrian or any other object along the way. While a boxer does a lot of foot work to be able to position himself offensively or defensively, a driver's foot work is limited to the operation of the pedals (the brake, the accelerator and in case of a manual transmission, the clutch pedal). Here lies the driver's ammunition which is his wise use of the fuel. If he steps on the gas pedal lightly, he could save a lot of energy which he can use in the final stretches of an economy run competitions. If his foot is heavy, he may not last the distance and his engine may give up early. The driver also has to be smart in using his brakes because too much braking uses a lot of fuel. He should be able to anticipate braking situations so he can slow down early and just use his car's momentum to reach an intersection or a crowded road. He should as much as possible avoid sudden and hard braking because these waste the car's rolling inertia and when the car goes back to the lowest gear, it needs more fuel to make it move. A driver's approach or attack of curves and downhill or uphill stretches can also make a lot of difference. If he can avoid or minimize braking while negotiating a downhill turn, the car's momentum can be used to carry the car uphill and therefore saving precious power," said De Los Reyes on from a blog from the event's official website (www.petronfuelsuccess.com).