SUBIC - Miguel Lazaro of Velocity Motors-H&R-Race Fans Team put up a good defensive stance in the afternoon race to split honors with archrival Renan Morales of Shift Racing recently in the fifth and penultimate round of the Philippine National Touring Car Championship 2005 recently at the newly-redesigned Subic International Raceway.

>Lazaro earned the pole at the grid being the fastest in the qualifying run but lost it to the fiery Morales who managed to squeeze in at the start and wrest the top spot on the second lap of the morning race in this event duly sanctioned by the governing Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) and sponsored by The Philippine Star, Bendix Brakes, Rota Wheels, Johnny Walker, Smirnoff Ice, A-toy body kits, Gadgets & C! Magazines, Home Radio 97.9, DWIZ 88.2, KTC Tools and

Morales pulled away on the fourth lap and coasted comfortably all the way to the finish line. Lazaro ended runner-up while Peewee Mendiola of Big Chill Racing, Ulysses Maninding and Tok Corpuz of Velocity Motors-H&R Team wound up third, fourth and fifth respectively.

But Lazaro didn't let Morales pull his tricks again in the afternoon race. Driving more composed this time, Lazaro successfully blocked all doors for Morales to pass at the start of the race and kept his archrival behind in the first five laps.

Just inches behind, Morales tried to make a dive on Lazaro on the sixth lap but his attempt backtracked against him. Averting a near-collision with Lazaro, Morales almost hit the wall and it took a while before he got back on track as Mendiola and Corpuz moved up second and third.

He quickly passed Corpuz at the next turn and managed to regain second spot from Mendiola on the ninth lap. However, Lazaro was already far from reach for Morales to complete another sweep.

Mendiola took third place while JP Cariņo of Intelco Racing, Corpuz and Menchie Francisco of Petron Ultron-SRA ended fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Morales still leads the Group 3 title race with 222 points while Lazaro is still close behind with 192 points. Mendiola is third overall with 180 while Francisco and Corpuz are fourth and fifth with 92 and 90 points respectively.

The Championship Round is set March 4-5 also at the Subic International Raceway.

Featured highlights of the races will be showcased on Slipstream TV Season 2 over Sports Plus Channel 35 on Thursday 7:30 p.m. Slipstream TV is hosted by Dominic Uy and Carlo Tirona.