Multi-titled Carlos Anton of the RED HORSE BEER-GULF OIL-MP TURBO Racing Team dominated both opening races of the Touring Car Championship in the 2003 CASINO FILIPINO Grand Prix at the Batangas Racing Circuit last weekend.
Firing the first salvo in the premiere event, Anton lived up to his credentials by taking pole position on Saturday and led from start to finish on both inaugural rounds. His wins looked easy from the grandstands but Anton had some problems enroute to his dream start of the season.
"We had some problems with overheating with from our engine," said Baguio driver Anton after the race. "We had to build up a gap at the start and try to hold it at the end. Luckily, we were able to maintain the gap and cruise to the finish. This has been our best weekend for a long, long time."
With Anton's stunning wins, RED HORSE BEER, the country's world-class, full-taste, lager beer, lubricant specialist GULF OIL and MP TURBO has been branded as the team to best in the coming races. They are ably supported by Universal Motors Corp. with Nissan Frontier Pick Ups, ROTA Wheels, YEHEY.com, EBC Brakes, PAGCOR Sports, ATI Diesel and BLTBCO.
RED HORSE BEER-GULF OIL-MP TURBO's Production Class driver Mike Francisco gave impressive performances with second and third places in both races. Missing action for 2 years, Francisco adapted immediately to the demands of Production racing and led the first race till a miscue near the end.
Francisco said after, "My car handled well and braked superbly for the first race. We climbed from 3rd in the class to first in 5 laps. We were very happy to move so high in such a short time. However, in the closing laps, my team mate Anton was about to lap us when Erick Tanael slipped through the gap after moving aside for Anton. It was a lesson learned and we'll do better next time."
The afternoon race though didn't go the same way when his car suffered from a broken front suspension bushing and didn't handle as good as the first run. Oscar Aguilar of the Caltex Team took 1st in the afternoon's race, with Intelco's Erick Tanael taking first overall in the morning's first race.
MP Turbo's privateer drivers, Dominic Bon, Alex Padua and John Sambo, had fairly successful outings for the first weekend. Expat Bon suffered from electrical problems in the first race but took top awards in the Division 2 for Class B drivers and 4th overall.
Production driver Padua took impressive finishes with 2nd and 3rd in class C with Sambo nursed a sick car to finish 3rd and 4th.
Next races will be on May 17-18.