The 2003 Civic Media Challenge got off to a rousing start last Saturday with Team Manila Bulletin led by team captain Anjo Perez continuing its winning ways. The two-time Media Challenge champions turned in a cumulative time of 3:50.85 to take first round honors. Only the best times of three of the four team members are totaled.
Returning individual driver champion Perez showed up the competition, including rookies and second-year competitors, with a best time of day 1:14.32. Providing Perez strong support is another media challenge veteran Aris Ilagan who turned in a close fourth best time of day. Other members of the team are Pinky Concha Colmenares and Bernard de Lara. Strong and consistent driving of veterans also propelled Team Philippine Star to second place with a cumulative time of 3:56.42. Veterans in the team are Brian Afuang, Manny delos Reyes, and Andy Leuterio. The other member is Lester Dizon. Third in the team standings is C! Magazine-Auto Extreme bannered by the performance of James Deakin who turned in a 1:16.93 which was just good enough for fifth fastest in the individual competitions. Deakin's teammates are Ardie Lopez, Kenneth Quintal and Kevin Limjoco.
Last year's individual champion Dodjie Aguila of Today newspaper carried the banner for the sophomores. Aguila's 1:14.82 was the second fastest time of day and helped his DRP-K-Lite-Today team attain fourth place in the team standings. Third in the individual competition is Lito German of the Manila Standard-PDI team.
After the first leg, Team Manila Bulletin leads the competition with 33 points, 30 points for topping the field plus 3 incentive points for sending a complete lineup during the leg. Philippine Star follows with 30 points, including bonus points. C! Magazine-Auto Extreme goes on to the next round with bonus-added 27 points.
Perez leads the individual race with 30 points, followed by Aguila with 27, and Lito German with 24. Ilagan and Deakin round up the top five with 21 and 18 points, respectively.
The biggest winner of the day however is the 2003 Civic, the official competition vehicle. Stock Civics powered by the new 130 horsepower Honda engine with VTEC 3 technology took on with nary a complaint the roughest handling of drivers hell-bent on turning in their fastest times in the dirt course built on gravelly surface of Liwasang Ipil Ipil at the CCP Complex. he stock Michelin tires also shone, impressing competitors with ability to provide grip on the slippery conditions and durability on rough gravel-strewn track.
Meanwhile in the competition among sponsors of the event, Team Caltex, banking on the performance of Miguel Sierra who was fastest among the sponsors, bested the two Honda teams. Coming in second was Team Honda 1 powered by the strong performance of Junichi Sato. Third and last was Honda 2 starring Mitsunari Takano, who was third fastest in the 12-competitor sponsors' field.
Organized by ADBM Resources in partnership with Activity Asia Association and Roadwise Motoring School, the Civic Media Challenge continues on May 24, 2003. The second leg of the Civic Media Challenge will be run on a tarmac course at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta.Sponsors of the 2003 Civic Media Challenge include Caltex Havoline, Michelin, the official tire supplier thru its Philippine distributor Tiara Commercial & Industrial Corporation; Nodalos Trading, and Aitech.