An inspired drive in the wet has allowed Luis Gono and Sean Smith to pick up class victories in a rain-shortened Giti-Formula V1 Challenge. Both drivers, however, have very different stories to tell on how they got to the top step of the podium last August 10/11 at the Clark International Speedway (CIS).
It has been 3 months since these guys were out on track. And in that time, organizers Tuason Racing School (TRS) has managed to fill 4 more slots on the grid, bringing the total number of entries to 14. That list includes Daniel Miranda of Toyota Balintawak-Obengers, Paolo Mantolino of PartsPro Racing, Indonesian driver Yasuno Senna Iriawan of AP Corse, and Charlie Cojuangco driving for Frontrow Racing. But in stark contrast to the sizzling season opener in May, the second event of the 2018 season was soaked all weekend.
Luis Gono In A Class of His Own
Driving for Cleanfuel Racing, Luis Gono topped the time sheets in Free Practice and Qualifying, lapping the 4.189 km circuit a full second clear of his nearest rivals in the Pro Class. He then held onto the lead despite the treacherous conditions and began to open up a gap to Tyson Sy of PartsPro Racing and Daniel Miranda.
But the weather worsened on lap 6, which prompted a full course yellow. They would maintain position until the chequered flag dropped behind the Safety Car. This earned Luis his first race win of the season after a dominant performance at CIS.
Stefan Ramirez then finished 4th, followed by Yasuno Senna Iriawan in 5th, and Paolo Mantolino in 6th for the Pro Class.
Back-to-Front Victory for Sean Smith
Much like Luis, Sean Smith was miles ahead in the Am Class and even matched the top Pro drivers. But his dream weekend was turned on its head in an instant. After setting the 5th fastest time in Qualifying, Sean had to start from back of the grid after his team opened his engine for repairs.
Undeterred, the Filipino-British driver drove the wheels off the #55 PartsPro Racing car to climb 10 spots in only a single lap. He eventually crossed the finish line 4th overall and 1st in Am Class.
Jussi Hoikka of Growl-Thule Racing and Shane Henderson completed the podium in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
As the downpour showed no signs of stopping, officials were forced to postpose Race 4 to the next event. This means Round 3 on October 27 will feature Qualifying on Friday followed by 3 races on Saturday.
The Giti-Formula V1 Challenge is supported by Giti Tires Philippines, Cleanfuel, Motul, Rota, OMP, AEG Powertools, Tuason Racing School, and West Racing Cars Japan.