As if racing in the dry wasn’t hard enough, non-stop rain during Round 4 of the Petron FlatOut Race Series (FORS) turned the Clark International Speedway (CIS) into a slippery rollercoaster ride, catching out even the most experienced drivers. This required finesse rather than brute power to set a quick lap, not to mention a big pair of balls.
Rafael la O’ once again proved that he had the biggest of them all. Equipped with Michelin Motorsport P2G wet weather tires, he set a benchmark lap of 2:16.762 in the Staunch Performance Honda Civic EK to win Bracket R.
But there were also some young guns who shined in the treacherous conditions. Gabby Sohu, Jero Consing, and Kody Ng outpaced drivers more than twice their age, winning in their respective Time Attack brackets. It also took balls of steel for lady driver Chenee Jimenez to drive a Nissan 240Z in anger in the rain.
Gabby Sohu of Team Nawna Racing prevented Raf from dominating the Time Attack session by taking 1st place in Bracket A with a 2:21.310 lap. Meanwhile, reigning champion Eduardo Suiza could only manage 2nd in the W-Autosport / Staging Lanes Honda Civic EG.
Jero Consing’s fastest time was 2.224 secs clear of Paolo Santos to secure 1st in Bracket B. Gabby’s younger brother Raffy completed the podium in 3rd. Swapping his usual Mazda MX-5, Errol Panganiban recorded a 2.31.188 best in a CarPorn Racing Subaru WRX STI. The lap earned him 1st in Bracket C and could have landed him a top spot in Bracket B.
Raffy Rabe in the Subaru BRZ had a slight advantage in Bracket D to win against Rommel Guevarra in 2nd. Robert Tan in the Grupo Toyota Yaris then came 3rd. Kenneth Santos topped the time sheets in Bracket E, followed by Michael Rivero in 2nd and Franklin Ong in 3rd.
15-year-old Kody Ng recorded his second straight win in Bracket F. Amiel Del Mundo in the BRE Ford Fiesta was 2nd while Mark Pascual in the BYD F0 returned to the series after a long hiatus to score 3rd. Then there’s AAP Motorsport Development Program (MSDP) graduate Chenee Jimenez who debuted her newly-built Nissan 240Z to win Bracket G.
Sanctioned by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), the combined Staunch Performance Grid D and SmartFuels 2 Race Grid E race was a tricky 5-lap dance in the rain. Most had to tiptoe their way around the 4.189 km circuit just to reach the chequered flag, while an unlucky few made unscheduled trips into the gravel, grass, or wall.
But there were a few exceptions. Paul Ongcuangco, Andre Makkina Tan, Erwin Manaog, and Franklin Ong battled for the lead despite the heavy downpour. Paul barely held onto 1st place, crossing the finish line a mere 0.640 secs ahead of Andre. Erwin held it together to finish a distant 3rd.
Felix Chua enjoyed a 16.297 secs lead to take a dominant win in Grid E. Mark Pascual concluded his weekend with a 2nd place finish, while Amiel Del Mundo was 3rd.
As the rain only got stronger that afternoon, the officials deemed it too dangerous to continue racing and postponed the Petron Grid A, KYB Grid B, and Recaro Grid C races to the next round for safety. This will take place on July 14, 2018 at the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC) for Round 5.
The 2018 Petron Flat Out Race Series (FORS) is sponsored by KYB – New SR Special, RECARO, SmartFuels, Staunch Performance x DynoJet, Carporn Racing, Hazardboy Performance, Seiken Japan, Tes Advertising, and Tuason Racing School. It’s supported by 2ndGen Insurance, Aeromed, Driftmob, Pro Simulation Karera (PSK), and Walter Lights and Sounds. Media partners include 2ner Magazine, 9tro Alliance, ABS-CBN Sports and Action, AutoCar Philippines, AutoDeal.com.ph, AutoIndustriya.com, C! Magazine, CarGuide.Ph, Carmudi.com.ph, Ignition.PH, JamesDeakin.Ph, JDM Underground, Manila Bulletin Drive, Motoring Today, Motortech.Ph, Pit Talk Asia, The Score, and Time Attack Manila.
[Photos by Jordan Aparicio]