The Philippine Touring Car Championship may be the country's main motorsport series today but it was its support race, the Philippine Production Car Championship, that proved to be the more exciting one when the 2010 season drew nearer to a close on January 9.
With only a handful of points separating series leader Tuason Racing School and its slew of Ford Focus race cars against the lone Chevrolet Cruze Philippine Touring Car (PhTC) run by Blanco Race Engineering (BRE), last Sunday's race was definitely going to have a nail-biter of a finish.
Here's a short account from Top Gear Philippines motorsport editor Mikko David:
The start of the final round was indeed action-packed as he called the start of the race "close to carnage" with various racing incidents seeing cars and car parts strewn all over the Clark International Speedway.
An incident between Cyrille Fontaine in the Cruze PhTC and Arnel Carlos in Team DKC's Civic hatchback later in the race, however, saw the event being red-flagged to a close. Carlos was ahead of Fontaine going into the sweeping left hand last corner of the track. Carlos was going wide, though, leaving just enough space on the inside corner for Fontaine to slip through while mounting the kerbs. The faster Cruze ran out of road, though, and made contact with the Civic, unsettling the smaller car's balance and inadvertently causing it to go off the track and on to the dirt and grass run-off area before its momentum was halted by the tire and concrete barrier. As the dust settled, an unhurt Carlos crawling out of the upturned Civic prompted the race officials to end the race a lap later with the finishing order being determined as to when the event was red-flagged.
The heat of the moment, however, saw Fontaine being punched while still strapped in the seat by Team DKC team manager Enzo Pastor as the Cruze PhTC rolled to a stop in the parc ferme area. After a post-race meeting with the race officials and the drivers to ascertain how the incident happened, Carlos managed to get a punch in on Fontaine as well.
As David said, "it was not the American’s day."
BRE team principal Pacho Blanco lamented that the accident was purely a racing incident and that the team is still committed to the next season of the racing series.
"We are saddened that this incident occurred but we take comfort in the fact that Mr. Carlos has emerged alive and well from the incident," Chevrolet Philippines-The Covenant Car Co. Inc. said in its statement. "Chevrolet’s goal with the Cruze PhTC program is to support and help fuel Philippine motorsports. We shall continue to uphold integrity, discipline and sportsmanship and we shall respect and support the Automobile Association of the Philippines’ (AAP) decision on the incident. This matter will be thoroughly evaluated and we shall take the necessary action. We look forward to pursuing our participation and support for Philippine motorsports."
Mark Desales of the AAP Motorsports Department refused to comment on the incident as it is still being reviewed by race officials. The AAP is the sole motorsports authority in the Philippines as it is affiliated with the Federation Internationale de'l Automobile (FIA), the world governing body for motorsports.
A video of the collision is up on YouTube, with the incident happening in the 4:08 mark. Share your thoughts on the incident in the comment box below.