Come-backing tandem Jun Diaz and co-driver Armin Amio took the top post on the podium at the recently concluded Round 2 of the Petron Blaze Rallye Series last Saturday.

After two years of absence in the rallying scene, Diaz and Amio blazed through the 250-kilometer, six-special stage rally set in scenic Pantabangan town in Nueva Ecija in their Mitsubishi Evolution 3. It was not an easy win for the duo as the tandems of Vip Isada/Robbie Hermoso and Boyet Policarpio/Bing Tuiseng put up a good fight until the last special stage.

"We didn't know how the car will react in dirt condition. The last time we drove this Mitsubishi Evolution was in a tarmac rally in Subic. The surface here in Pantabangan is very slippery with lots of rocks and ruts and tricky turns. Luckily, there was no major car trouble, except for some brake problems after special stage 2 and a "wayward" mudguard in special stage 3 which slowed us on our way up," Diaz said. For her part, Amio said: "the last special stage was the deciding one. We knew we had to give it all as our time was only five seconds better than the second-ranked car." The duo completed the entire six special stages with a time of 43 minutes and 43 seconds.

Nine-time rally driver champion Isada with seven-time national co-driver champion Hermoso in their Honda City 1500 took the second place with 43:56 while another come-backing team Boyet Policarpio and Bing Tuiseng in a Nissan Sentra placed third with 44:24. All 10 cars which were flagged off last Wednesday at the Petron Greenhills station finished.

Isada/Hermoso further secured their campaign for the national rally driver's championship as their second-place overall win gave them 10 more points to their previous 20 points from round one held in Tanay, Rizal. Tied for second place are the tandems of Diaz/Amio and Carlo Gutang/Choy Mabunay, both with 20 points. Not far behind is Kenneth Dominado/Egai Ortiz-Luis with 18 points.

The third round of the Petron Rallye Series will be held on June 29. Organizers of the event are Activity Asia Association and Roadwise Motoring School and sponsored by Petron Corporation, Petron Blaze in partnership with Honda Cars Philippines, Inc, the official vehicle of the event.