Well, whad’ya know. Walter Zamora may not be the quickest driver on the grid, but a series of fortunate events at the 4th round of the 2015 Yokohama Philippine GT Championship made him the weekend’s big winner.
Held at Clark International Speedway (CIS) last August 30, the race only featured a smaller 9-car grid. This was largely thanks to several absentees that included Dondon Portugal, Richmon Dela Rosa, and his younger brother Patrick. But some familiar faces on the grid such as lone GT 300 driver Willie Torres, last year’s GT 200 Champion Paolo Mantolino, and Edwin Rodriguez in his new Mazda2 SkyActiv race car were able to give us one heck of a show.
The 9-lap Sprint Race saw Torres take the lead all the way to the finish line. Behind him was Mantolino of the R33 Ethanworx Racing Team who was driving brilliantly before suffering a tire puncture late in the race. As pitted to change tires, Walter Zamora in the Walter Lights and Sound Honda Civic EK capitalized on the chance to take the win in GT 200.
Meanwhile, GT 150 was a duel between SM Bonus teammates Dindo De Jesus and NR Joaquin where Joaquin took 1st place.
GT 100 also had its highlights when Ivan Diaz in the Mohspeed Honda Civic tried to take a corner from Edwin Rodriguez which resulted in a collision. Luckily for Diaz, he was still able to continue and finish 1st despite the incident. The same thing can’t be said though for Rodriguez who had to retire due to damage suffered by his Mazda 2 Skyactiv. This set Jodinger ‘King’ Sin to grab 2nd place while Rhaffy Latorre in the Mohspeed Honda Civic took 3rd.
The afternoon 15-lap GT Race saw dark clouds loom over the track that quickly drenched the tarmac. This allowed Torres to make the most out of the wet conditions with his 4-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Evolution VIII.
With his advantage, he built a 2 minute lead to take the overall and GT 300 win only to see all his hard work go down the drain after he was disqualified for failing scrutineering. In GT 200, Zamora once again came out on top after Mantolino was also disqualified for failing the post-race technical inspection.
It really seemed like luck wasn’t on the side of all the class leaders during the GT Race. Joaquin who was in front of De Jesus, suffered sudden power loss halfway through the race. He also spun out with only a few laps to go in the tricky conditions. All these gave De Jesus the win in GT 150.
Meanwhile in GT 100, 3 out of the 4 drivers experienced the same bad luck with the exemption of Diaz who finished 1st. Jodinger ‘King’ Sin locked up his wheels during the very 1st lap and ended up in the gravel which forced him to retire.
The highlight though for GT 100 was the fierce battle between Rhaffy Latorre and Rodriguez. From the very start, it was obvious that Latorre had no intention of giving up his position. But he used one too many defensive moves on Rodriguez that resulted in a blown tire, forcing him out of the race. Rodriguez, on the other hand, cruised to the finish line in 2nd only to be disqualified for failing the dyno test.
The 2015 Philippine GT Championship heads to the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC) on September 26/27 for the 5th and final round of the season. The races are sanctioned by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), sponsored by Yokohama Tires Sales Philippines, Inc., Sparco, and Aguila Auto Glass, with support from the official dyno provider, Speedlab.