Round 1 of this year’s Giti-Formula V1 saw familiar names, as well as some new blood, face off at Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC). From new drivers, to seasoned veterans, last weekend’s race proved that motorsport racing in the country is alive and well.
Starting off in the AM Class, 16-year old Alex Brown of Toyota Balintawak Obengers dominated Race 1. Despite being one of the youngest and only being able to practice 8 days prior, Brown showed maturity beyond his years by actually winning in his first attempt. Finishing second and third were Shane Henderson and Red Diwa accordingly.
“I’ve never driven a manual car before the V1. But I’ve had eight days of testing to prepare for today - though Batangas is a very interesting track with the camber on the corners and how uneven it is compared to Clark,” said Brown.
Over to the Pro Class, it was Cleanfuel’s Ryo Yamada who took the chequered flag despite strong opposition from Stefan Ramirez and Estefano Rivera, who finished second and third respectively. Despite being his first time in BRC, Yamada said that the narrow and bumpy track of BRC proved to be a challenge which he actually liked. Before joining Formula V1, Yamada spent three years competing in Formula Vita Japan, which proved helpful in his first race in the Philippines.
In Race 2, both Brown and Yamada repeated their first-place performances while the second and third-place finishers swapped positions on the podium.
The final race of the day started off with the reverse grid. There was a bit of a drizzle on the track, which did catch out Pro Class driver, Dominic Roque. The race was red-flagged after he got into an accident, where he was able to walk away unscathed. Ultimately, after 7 laps, Estefano Ramirez of Toyota Otis Obengers clinched first-place victory while Raymond Ronquillo of Frontrow Racing and Jussi Hoikka of Growl-Thule Racing finished in second and third accordingly.
Originally, Ronqullio did not plan on racing as he was involved in an accident days prior. He was glad he decided to join still as he was able to land a spot on the podium. As for Hoikka, he said that this was the most intense wheel-to-wheel race he has ever been in.
Capping off the race day was Alex Brown’s victory once more in the AM Class, resulting in three straight victories in Round 1 of this year’s season. Finishing behind him in second and third place were Red Diwa and Bryan Co, who was simply thankful that he was able to avoid many on-track incidents.
Round 2 of Giti Formula V1 is scheduled to take place at Clark International Speedway from July 20 - July 21.