A valiant return to the top step of the podium for Miguel Quiñones after he won a total of 6 trophies during a rain-affected weekend last July 29/30 at the Clark International Speedway Kart Track. His victories would come from 3 back-to-back events that combined the Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC) with 2 rounds of the Rotax Max Challenge Philippines.
The DRQ Motorsports karter got off to a good start by placing his #45 OTK kart in a respectable 5th during Saturday’s Qualifying out of a massive 22-strong field. He then demonstrated why he’s a multiple-time karting champion by dominating Heat 1, finishing 1st and 4.324 secs ahead of his nearest rival Bern Corpino. Heat 2 saw a repeat performance with Miguel crossing the finish line with a 2.128 secs advantage. Although he ended up 2nd in Heat 3, the combined results landed him pole position for the Finals.
Miguel would bag his first set of trophies on Sunday morning during Round 3 of the Rotax Max Challenge Ph. He didn’t set a foot wrong throughout the 17-lap race to take a dominant 1st place finish in Senior Overall and Senior Expert Class with a massive 6.433 secs gap from 2nd placer Gabriel Carag. The 20-year-old also set the fastest lap of the race and is the only karter to lap below the 48 second mark.
Despite a strong downpour, Miguel was again sensational in the wet afternoon race. He braved the challenging conditions and excelled where others faltered. His vast karting experience allowed him to stay in control throughout the 25-lap race and was unchallenged for the lead, securing him another pair of Senior Overall and Senior Expert Class wins for Round 4 of Rotax Max Challenge Ph.
His final and most prestigious set of trophies from the triple header weekend came from Round 2 of AKOC. With help from coach Takeharu Nakamori and tuner Takehiko Kuchikata from Japan, Miguel nabbed 1st place in the Finals to win by a commanding 6.345 sec margin. This would earn him the top prize in both the Rotax Max Senior Class and Formula 125 Senior Open Class where he now leads the standings by 21 and 18 points, respectively.
Miguel simply describes the entire weekend as “perfect.” He reasoned that “There were zero mistakes from qualifying to the finals.”
“It was surreal,” said the 2-time Driver of the Year awardee. But he couldn’t have done it without his team as he expressed, “It wouldn’t have been achieved without the consistency of my mechanics and tuner, Nakamori san and Kuchikata san, and the teamwork and resilience of DRQ Motorsports with the hard work the mechanics did for everyone.”
If truth be told, Miguel has struggled to find his groove since the year began. While he does manage to land on the podium consistently, the wins he accumulated over the triple header weekend served as his first karting wins of 2023. Talking about how he resurgence, Miguel shared, “With a bit of practice and a calm mindset, I was able to finally find my speed again.”
Basking in his accomplishments, the karting standout now shifts his focus on preparing for the next rounds of the Rotax Max Challenge Philippines happening on November 4/5 for the double header season finale at the Carmona Race Track. He currently leads the Senior Overall standings by 16 points and the Senior Expert by 14 points.
Miguel Quiñones is sponsored by RZQ The Aesthetic Surgery Clinic, RZQ Aesthetic Medicine Institute, Derma Medica, and Wuerth Philippines.
[Photos by Bong Boado]