A heartbreaker turned into vindication for Mike Anton in the recently concluded Rounds 11 and 12 of the Blaze Super Saloon Championship held in the Subic International Raceway. Anton was not able to finish Round 11 but was able to take the checkered flag in Round 12.
Earlier in the weekend, Jody Coseteng of Caltex/Red Horse suffered a horrible crash in the bus-stop corner. One of the brake pads fell off, causing Coseteng to momentarily lose control of the car while braking into the corner. The damage proved to be severe as he was forced to use a replacement car to compete in the weekend. It was later learned that Coseteng suffered a fractured neck because of that accident.
It was a tight battle in Round 11 as Anton, Coseteng, and Louis Ramirez competed constantly for the lead.
Unfortunately during the early laps of the race, Coseteng hit the bus-stop tires and was given a stop and go penalty. This caused him to be dropped from 1st to 8th place. Mike Anton took the lead and was about to cruise all the way to victory when during the 2nd to the last lap, the car suddenly came to a complete stop. There was power coming from the engine but no drive to the wheels.
Louis Ramirez capitalized and took the checkered flag with Francis Godinez coming in at 2nd, and George Ramirez at third. Jody Coseteng was able to climb one notch to 7th. Div. A - Louis Ramirez (1st) , George Ramirez (2nd), Nilo Pazcoguin (3rd). Div. B - Francis Godinez (1st), Dominic Bon (2nd). Div. C - John Sambo. After the race, an almost teary eyed Mike Anton pondered on what could have been sweet victory. Fortunately for him and the team, the problem was only a broken driveshaft; something that could be replaced within a few minutes.
Round 12 saw no retirements, but the action was as hot as ever. Jody Coseteng was able to immediately go past Mike Anton in the first lap of the race. And after that, all 5 leading cars were virtually neck and neck in the first few laps of the race. Coseteng was able to keep the challengers at bay despite the constant brake problem plaguing his car. During the 6th lap, at the hairpin turn, Kookie Ramirez made a daring maneuver and tried to pass on the inside of Anton. Unfortunately the Petron sponsored car hit Anton's side causing Ramirez to spin out.
During the closing stages of the race Louis Ramirez missed the braking point at the hairpin and dropped down from 2nd to 6th. The brake problems haunting Coseteng all throughout the weekend came to a climax at the second to the last lap, as he was passed by Mike Anton in the esses. Anton cruised all the way to victory with Coseteng coming in 2nd 5 seconds behind and Kookie Ramirez at third 8 seconds behind. According to Anton, the last lap seemed to be the longest lap in his entire racing career as he eagerly awaited the sight of the checkered flag.
Div. A - Mike Anton (1st), Kookie Ramirez (2nd), George Ramirez (3rd). Div. B - Dominic Bon. Div. C - John Sambo.
SVI Challenge Cup
In the SVI Challenge Cup, Gaby dela Merced dominated Round 11, leading all the way from start to finish. Unfortunately teammate Mikko David suffered some engine trouble and was forced to retire. At the end of the first lap, Dennis Uy came to the pits with a broken windshield. He went back out after having the windshield removed and made a few laps before retiring completely in lap 4. Menchie Francisco was also a bit unlucky as her engine blew and left traces of oil in parts of the track.
Class C - Gaby dela Merced (1st), Dominic Tan (2nd), Oscar Aguilar (3rd).
In Round 12, dela Merced looked ready to dominate once again. But Oscar Aguilar of team Caltex proved to be more than a match as he overtook Gaby in the 3rd lap. Aguilar would eventually claim the victory. Menchie Francisco, having climbed up the places lap by lap, took 2nd. Pewee Mendiola was 6 secs. behind at 3rd.
Class C - Oscar Aguilar (1st), Menchie Francisco (2nd), Peewee Mendiola (3rd). Novice Class - Dennis Uy.