Despite the dark clouds that loomed above the Batangas Racing Circuit, the 5th round of the GT Radial FlatOut Race Series (FORS) staged some of the most thrilling on-track action so far this season.
The country’s premier grassroots motorsports event was greeted by stormy weather last July 2. But the track quickly dried out after the early practice sessions and in time for the first official runs. This paved the way for the 82 entries in the day’s Time Trial and Grid Races to enjoy the cool weather and lay down rubber on the track.
The fastest driver on track was Rafael La’O in the Auto Magic Honda Civic EK Hatchback. Running on GT Radial SX2 tires, he managed a best time of 1:50.142 in Bracket A to give him a clear shot at 1st place. Eduardo Suiza in the Competition Clutch Honda Civic EG was a mere 0.094 sec slower and had to settle for 2nd. In third was Don Don Portugal who clocked a 1:50.308 lap. The trio would then finish in the same order in Bracket R.
It was a head-to-head battle in Bracket B between 14-year-old Gabby Sohu and Robert Alvarez, with the youngster getting the upper hand. Driving the PAGCOR/Zenium/Gerco-sponsored Honda Civic Hatchback, the eldest of the three Sohu brothers finished first by setting a 1:56.582 lap versus Alvarez’ 1:57.582.
Bracket C saw Paolo Lofamia claim back-to-back victories with a 1:59.024 run. Aaron Lao’s 1:59.200 best put him in 2nd while Joey Howard claimed the last spot on the podium his 1:59.453 lap.
The youngest of the Sohu brothers, Miggy, pulled a surprise run in Bracket D. His 2:02.449 lap in another PAGCOR/Zenium/Gerco-sponsored Honda Civic Hatchback allowed him to beat a field of 8 entries to finish 1st. Settling for 2nd and 3rd were Polo Bautista and Mark Bayan, respectively.
John Benedict Carbonel, Marcus Timbol, and Jack Saquilayan earned 1st, 2nd, and 3rd spots in Bracket E. Anthony Richard Lanting was fastest in Bracket F followed by Michael John Enriquez in 2nd and Leo Candava in 3rd. It was a tight battle in Bracket G with only 0.176 sec separating the top three drivers. They were Robert Tan in 1st, Al King Dela Cruz in 2nd, and Mark Macas in 3rd.
As for the support classes, the winners were Mark Macas in the Grupo Toyota Class and Zacharry Mendoza in The Perfect Lap.
Putting Grids A, B, and C together formed a sizable 13-car field for the main 12-lap race.
Don Don Portugal pulled out an early advantage in the GT Radial Grid A race and looked to be in good contention for the win. But a spin in the closing stages of the race handed the lead to Rafael La’O who took it to the chequered flag. Portugal salvaged a respectable 2nd while Ferdie Sia’s steady pace gave him 3rd. Despite their strong performance, Eduardo Suiza and Paul Laurence Tan both sadly failed to finish.
Sydney Sarmiento once again finished on the top step podium in the Smart Fuels Grid B race after a flawless drive. Ed Christian Go was lucky to end up 2nd and escape penalties due to a contact that sent Gabby Sohu into a spin. Sohu, on the other hand, was handed a massive four minute penalty due to repeated hard breakouts but was still able to finish 3rd.
Aaron Lao walked away with 1st place in the Competition Clutch Grid C race with Joey Howard in 2nd and a hard charging Paolo Lofamia in 3rd.
It was pure heartbreak for Polo Bautista who, despite finishing ahead of the entire 22-car Grid D and E field, found himself in last place due to a 60 sec penalty for a hard breakout. This gave the win to Neil Bryan Diaz in the Buddy Club Grid D race, followed by Allan Ararao in 2nd and Michael Suiza in 3rd.
Lastly, Robert Tan claimed his second victory of the day by winning the Works Bell Grid E race. Anthony Richard Lanting crossed the line in 2nd and Leo Candava in 3rd.
For Round 6, the FlatOut Race Series (FORS) returns to the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC) on July 2, 2016.
For more info or inquiries, visit the FlatOut Race Series page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FlatOutRaceSeries).
The 2016 Flat Out Race Series (FORS) is sponsored by GT Radial – Philippines, Smartfuels, Competition Clutch, Staging Lanes, Buddyclub, Works Bell, Spy Eyewear, Tuason Racing School, BMC Air Filters, Gamutek, and Recaro. FORS is also supported by Gamotek Tarpauline Machine, Stoner Car Care & Glass Detailing, Tropicana Scents Car Freshener, Ninja Performance, MDU Coilovers, Target Motorsports, Aguila Auto Glass, Walter Lights and Sounds, A1 Advertising, Aeromed. Philgerma Mfg. Inc. Media partners include LGT Manila, Time Attack Manila, AutoIndustriya.com, AutoCar Philippines, Sportline Magazine, C! Magazine, JDM Underground, 2ner Magazine, and AutoDeal.com.ph.