In the qualifying session for the Blaze Super Saloon Series, it was Jody Coseteng of Red Horse/Havoline Racing who took command sending him to the front of the grid for the opening race weekend with a 1:29.582 laptime in the 7th lap of the qualifying session. "I'm very confident of a good finish for both rounds on raceday, if I get ahead of Kookie (Ramirez) and Mike (Anton) after the hairpin, I'll surely have the race in my hands," Coseteng said. Kookie Ramirez of Petron SRA qualified for the second grid position with a 1:30.491 laptime set in the 10th lap, a difference of almost a second from Coseteng's pole time. In third spot was Mike Anton of Red Bull/Auto Options/Alex Car Restoration who clocked in at 1:30.973, which he set on the 8th lap.
Coseteng valiantly drove through Rounds 5 & 6 of the Blaze Super Saloon Series winning both rounds back-to-back on his silver Toyota Corolla prepared by Japanese tuner Takeda. "My winning streak is coming back again and I hope to continue this streak towards the end of the series," said Coseteng.
It was an unfortunate round 5 for Kookie Ramirez as he blew his engine early in the race on the third lap. "Coming out of the bus-stop, my radiator dislodged emtying all the water inside it and the engine. My engine temp did not show anything wrong but suddenly stopped on the third lap," says Ramirez. Anton continued to have his driveshaft problems for the round after even having it replaced. Anton managed to drive ahead of Louis Ramirez of Petron SRA with virtually 3 wheels after his right axle broke in the middle of the race.
Behind the leaders was Nilo Pazcoguin of Caltex Havoline/Auto Trend who after an unfortunate mistake after turn one, allowed a tenacious Francis Godinez of Add Research/Tropics Export to take him going into the bus-stop on the 12th lap. By lap 14, Dominic Bon of SRA Racing and Monching Gutierrez of Pampanga Racing managed to get past Pazcoguin who went into a spin after a slight contact with Bon. Far away in the back of the grid was lone C driver John Sambo of Pampanga Racing running almost 1 minute behind the leader leisurely cruising to finish the race and claim his class win
The race ended with Jody Coseteng (1st), Mike Anton (2nd), Louis Ramirez (3rd). Div. A - Mike Anton (1st), Louis Ramirez (2nd), Nilo Pazcoguin (3rd). Div. B - Francis Godinez (1st), Dominic Bon (2nd), Monching Gutierrez (3rd). Div. C - John Sambo.
Starting from pole, Coseteng led the way for round 6 through turn one. Having a good start from third was Mike Anton who sprung up to second behind Coseteng. Kookie and brother Louis Ramirez followed behind Anton. Going through the bus-stop to the back straight, Coseteng continued to dominate. Anton found himself extending his lead over the Ramirez brothers. Behind them was a fierce duel between B drivers Godinez and Gutierrez. Sambo, who made a good start quickly followed behind only to find himself spinning out in turn one after contact with Pazcoguin send him down the order to last place. Bon capitalized and advanced two positions.
Running second all through lap 3, Anton found himself being overtaken by Kookie Ramirez after the bus-stop exit. Anton then found himself between Kookie and Louis Ramirez running like a train from the middle of the 3rd lap until the 8th lap. Gutierrez unforunately suffered engine problems on lap 9 and retired from the race giving Godinez unchallenged.
Meanwhile in front, Anton was literally sandwiched in betweent the two Ramirezes only being able to run 1:32 laptimes behind Kookie Ramirez who never left a door open. Louis Ramirez would close in on Anton but only to lose the gap as he hit the bus-stop tires as he entered the chicane on lap 8. But Ramirez continued to run ignoring the black flag as he went ahead of Anton after another error.
Louis Ramirez finally decided to go into the pits after he was given another black flag signalling him for a drive-through penalty. It was too late for Anton as Kookie Ramirez had pulled ahead as he dueled with Louis Ramirez. Jody Coseteng continued to pull away up front as the race came closer to its end.
The race ended with Jody Coseteng (1st), Kookie Ramirez (2nd), Mike Anton (3rd). Div. A - Mike Anton (1st), Louis Ramirez (2nd), Nilo Pazcoguin (3rd). Div. B - Francis Godinez (1st), Dominic Bon (2nd). Div. C - John Sambo.
SVI Challenge Cup
In the SVI Challenge Cup Qualifying Time Trials, SRA Racing's Dominic Bon took pole position with a 1:40.871 laptime. Mikko David of RI Autosport/Bigshot/E-Racing clocked in at 1:41.643 on his 5th lap to garner the second grid spot, while Caltex Havoline's Peewee Mendiola made a late run clocking in at 1:42.517 on the 15th lap good enough for third spot.
Dominic Bon drove like a furious demon unleashed as the green light went on as he pulled away from the pack. David tried to follow, only to be overtaken on the next lap by Caltex Havoline's Oscar Aguilar who made a great start from his 5th grid position start. A struggling Mendiola stumbled down to 9th on the 3rd lap but quickly regained composure to slowly climb back up the order.
A fierce battle for position ensued in the middle of the grid between Menchie Francisco of Petron SRA and Novice driver Daryl Flores of Team Auto Solutions. Just behind them was another fierce battle between Novice drivers Dennis Uy of Velocity Motors/H&R Racing and Dong Garcia of Team SMT.
Gaby Dela Merced of Team Ultron running in 5th came into contact with the bus-stop tires on the sixth lap dropped her to 8th position after the drive-through penalty. Dela Merced exited the pitlane ahead of Dominic Tan who dropped down from 4th to 8th in seventh lap. Backmarker Arpee Manhit retired from the race on lap 8 due to problems. She continued on to challenge Mendiola for 6th position with a late charge overtaking Mendiola on the last lap.
The race ended with Dominic Bon (1st), Oscar Aguilar (2nd), Mikko David (3rd). Class C - Oscar Aguilar (1st). Menchie Francisco (2nd), Peewee Mendiola (3rd). Novice Class - Daryl Flores (1st), Dennis Uy (2nd), Dong Garcia (3rd).
It was an incident filled round 6 for the SVI Challenge Cup. Going into turn one, it was David, Mendiola and Dela Merced taking a three way line following Bon out of the turn. "Approaching the kink, I saw Mikko (David) suddenly closing in on my left, I suddenly veered towards the wall coming into contact with Gaby (Dela Merced) sending my car to a spin with speeding cars behind," said Mendiola. "I was startled and quickly maneuvered away to avoid Peewee (Mendiola)," said Aguilar who barely made it through. A very unfortunate Daryl Flores found himself forcing his car through the hole of a needle crashing into the tires and hitting part of Mendiola's car. "My brakes couldn't hold it, so I tired to force it through the only space I could find, it was too little a space as I hit the tires and a little bit of Peewee's car," said the young Flores.
As a result of the incident, officials decided to stop the race to remove the car of Mendiola and Flores. With 11 laps remaining, the race was to be restarted with just 10 laps but was delayed as race officials repaired the damaged wall. Flores managed to rejoin the race on the starting grid.
At the restart, it was once again Bon who led the pack, David and Aguilar drove side-by-side going into turn 2 with Aguilar making a diving maneuver to take 2nd position. Tan followed behind closely with the rest of the pack. A short battle took place at the back of the grid between Garcia and Manhit, Garcia managed to get ahead of Mahit for the final Novice podium position. Manhit decided to retire after 4 laps.
Meanwhile in the pitlane, Dela Merced managed to have her car fixed and rejoined the race on lap 2. Quickly trying to regain the lost lap finding herself through the middle of the order a lap behind, but to no avail as she couldn't catch up.
Midway through the race, Aguilar found himself losing control of the car sending it to a spin going into chicane turns 13 & 14. "I suddenly felt a problem with my brakes, so I pulled the handbrake to spin my car instead of hitting the wall head-on. Luckily I managed to avoid the wall. When the race ended, the marshal came to me and gave me my brakepad which dislodged from my car," said Aguilar. Aguilar retired on lap 8. Tan managed to get ahead of David taking 2nd position and defended it through the checkered flag. Behind them, the fierce battle between Francisco and Flores continued with Francisco leading over Flores.
At the post-race scrutineering, Bon was disqualified for failing the ride height requirement. Dominic Tan of Mobil One/HCG/AutoMechanika earned himself a well deserved win after a long battle with David. The race ended with Dominic Tan (1st), Mikko David (2nd), Menchie Francisco (3rd). Class C - Dominic Tan (1st), Menchie Francisco (2nd), Oscar Aguilar (3rd). Novice Class - Daryl Flores (1st), Dennis Uy (2nd), Dong Garcia (3rd).