The 2014 Yokohama Phil. GT Championship Rd.4 Race Highlights

The 2014 Yokohama Phil. GT Championship Rd.4 Race Highlights

After missing out on Rd.3, Team Häfele's Veli-Matti Kaikkonen returned with a flaming fashion on board his mighty Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, while this year’s defending champion Jody Coseteng was once again absent from the race.

Right from the get-go, Kaikkonen proved his thirst for the GT300 lead, as he clocked an astonishing 2:08.419 during his qualifying run, earning him the pole position. He was then followed by Team Ethanworx R33's Carlos Anton in second place, while not far behind was another GT300 driver by the name of Don Don Portugal in third. Leading the grid for the GT150 Class was Richmon Dela Rosa, and clocking in fastest in the GT100 Class was Rhaffy Latorre.

Domination was the name of the game for Kaikkonen, as he led the morning’s 10-lap sprint race from start to finish, crossing the line with a 14.504-second margin over his fellow GT300 contender Don Don Portugal, while finishing 3rd was the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, driven by the actor Jomari Yllana who had his good mojos and his crew to thank for, as they burned the midnight oil, building an entirely new engine.

Carlos Anton, Joey Pery, and Paolo Mantolino took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in GT 200 Class, respectively, while Richmon Dela Rosa and his Honda Del Sol won 1st in the GT150 Class, followed by Walter Zamora in 2nd. Raymond Ronquillio wasn’t as lucky as them though, as he suffered a blown engine right in the very first lap of the morning’s sprint race.

Finally, down in the GT100 Class, Rhaffy Latorre pulled off a Kaikkonen-style strategy, dominating the class from start to finish, not giving even an inch of opening for the 2nd placer Edwin Rodriguez to pass. The GT100 Class 3rd spot could have easily been taken by Ivan Diaz, if not for his disqualification, following a technical infringement.

As the racing weekend progressed, on went the afternoon’s main GT race, and what a spectacularly epic 15 lap of a race that was, with Taysan Mayor Don Don Portugal winning the GT300 Class after passing Yllana on turn one. With a gap of almost half a lap between them, they crossed the line, leaving behind a three-car pile-up involving Carlos Anton, Veli-Mati Kaikkonen, and Joey Pery.

Paolo Mantolino of Team Ethanworx R33 bested the GT200 Class, ahead of 2nd placer and teammate Carlos Anton, who made an inspirational effort by not letting a busted transmission get in his was. He actually completed the race with only his surviving fourth gear. Placing 3rd was Joey Pery, who seemed to have caught Anton’s determination, and went on to cross the line even with a damaged front suspension. Clearly, the urge to call it quits under mechanical malfunctions was out of the question for these guys.

Richmon Dela Rosa and Walter Zamora maintained their momentums, winning the race once again in the GT150 Class in 1st and 2nd place respectively, while earning the top honor in the GT100 Class was the Mazda Philippines sponsored Mazda2 of Edwin Rodriguez.

At the end of the race, a bit of controversy have unfolded, with Kaikkonen and Yllana both facing disqualifications due to technical infringements.

In the Philminiracers Championship, the top three finishers was a repeat of Round 3 with Rodney Caballero, Bernard Sy, and Borgy Zoleta taking 1st. 2nd, and 3rd respectively, while Dexter Daquigan won in the VW Kafer Cup, closely followed by Daniel Castaneda and Arman Salada, claiming 2nd and 3rd.

In just half-way through the season, the 2014 Yokohama Philippine GT Championship is already at maximum intensity, filled with closely-matched battles in its four Classes. Watch out for the 5th round to be held on October 25 and 26, this time at the Batangas Racing Circuit.