The huge success of the Petron Rally of Champions Presented by KIA was not expected after several delays that were beyond our control plus the scheduling problem of getting the champions in one place. After getting the Subic Lemans Kart Track, we knew we found our ROC home!
Subic was the place where we had our initial PMRA Rallycrosses back in 1993 and eventually led us to partner up with the legend of Philippine Motorsports, Pocholo Ramirez to put up the Subic International Raceway. Now we are back and look like we found the right formula to make Subic big again in Motorsports.
Here’s the exciting racing action that transpired in our Petron ROC last March 24-25 in Subic Lemans that a lot of the participants are claiming to be the best they ever joined.
Our first round turned into a 2 day event with each day being a separate race. This was due to having 3 other Motorsport events all happening at the same weekend, namely Drag Racing at Clark, Rallycross at Lubao and AAP’s MSDP in Cagayan De Oro. Our invited ROC champions can pick which day they can attend and race in. This also gave some breathing room to have another day just in case we needed more time to finish the event.
The Subic Lemans Track is a short, 480m track made for rental karts when the Americans controlled the base. After years of non-operation, the track needed a good cleaning and we had the SBMA Fire Department and our Subic Marshals clean if for 2 days. We also lost the original Start/Finish area as it was now part of a heavy equipment parking area. It’s a blessing that there were still vacant areas near the Petron Station where we transferred our Start, Pits and Paddocks areas.
ARRIVE AND DRIVE
The Petron ROC is actually composed of 3 races in 1 event. We have the Arrive and Drive, the Super Battle and the actual Rally of Champions. This should answer all the needs of the racers, may they be newbies or veterans, with stock cars or highly modified ones, and the never ending issue of cheap and affordable racing!
First to be tested was the Arrive and Drive format. After we gave the participants enough practice laps around the track, we had our timing beam system get accurate lap times with no human intervention whatsoever. They then nominated their own lap times that they think they can hit consistently as we penalize them with 1 demerit for every 0.1 second when they are early of late.
The participants were given 2 laps around the technical course and had to do 3 runs. All these runs would be counted and the demerits will be accumulated in the end. The drivers will also be separated in brackets according to the fastest times and down to the slowest ones.
JUNIORS ARE BETTER
The beginners and junior drivers were also given the chance to compete even though they didn’t have a driver’s license yet. This is also one of our intentions as we are pushing for younger drivers to come out and try this format as they have to overdrive or be pressured to do a fast time.
We had 4 junior drivers with race team owner Mark Young fielding in his 15 yo daughter Romina and 11yo son Marky in the race. Our 16yo karter Jerald Valdez will be trying his luck in the KIA Picanto. Finally, our multi-titled, 13yo sensation Inigo Anton was with his father Carlos in Mark Young’s Racing Honda Civic EF for the Super Battle and Rally of Champions.
Our drift community, headed by Drift King Audel Sison, supported our event with a huge contingent. They brought in their powerful and sleek RWD cars and had a grand time in the Arrive and Drive race. The 300-400hp Nissan Skylines of expert John Boban and novice Peter Schroth were drifting around the corners and really wowed the crowd!
Audel nominated a fast time of 1:06 and Jason Young in the fast Mark Young’s Racing Honda Civic EF gave a 1:04 time. These too formed the fastest Bracket A and Audel managed to take first place with 30 demerits. Jason had 42 demerits after slowing down in the last 2 runs to conserve their tires.
CONSISTENCY IS BEST
The next bracket was formed with nominated times of 1:10-1:12. Here we saw the superior control of Mark Paragas in his white Toyota 86 came out on top with only 15 demerits! Boban’s Skyline was a beast to tame and ended in 2nd place with 34 demerits. Rounding up the top 3 was team owner Mark Young who used the 1000cc Kia Picanto to come in 3rd place with 57 demerits.
The most number of participants were in Bracket C where the times were 1:13-1:15. Warren Merdegia fended off Allen Santiago and 16yo Jerald Valdez, with 19, 22 and 33 demerits, respectively. Bracket D was won by Van Jimenez with 35 demerits in his powerful Toyota Corolla Turbo. 2nd place went to lady driver Aya Vargas, 40, and 3rd to veteran Roy Santiago, 62.
Lastly, Bracket E was won by Romina Young even though she declared the slowest time of 1:30. She just got 67 demerits against Jay Merdegia, 121, and rally driver Bayani Vargas, 131.
OVERALL AAD WINNERS
The faster cars is not usually the most consistent and this was proven by the Arrive and Drive Overall winner Mark Paragas in his Toyota 86 with 15 demerits. He drove close to his nominated time and took the overall win, even without the aid of electronic gadgets. 2nd overall was Warren Merdegia who has a turbo Corolla and took only 19 demerits.
The only turbo diesel in the group was Allen Santiago’s stock Hyundai Accent and drove to 3rd overall with 22 demerits. Audel Sison came in 4th and had to go back to a stock turbo Skyline. The mighty Picanto driven by Jerald Valdez came home in 5th overall.
We will have the exciting Super Battle and Rally of Cahmpions next week and stay tuned. There are a lot of surprises including one I got in Race 2 Sunday’s race!