The Official 2019 Giti-Formula V1 Challenge Round 1 Results

The action at Batangas Racing Circuit was an intense start to the season!

Phoenix Pulse together with Tuason Racing presents the Giti-Formula V1 Challenge 2019. Supported by Giti Tires Philippines, West Race Cars Japan, OMP, AEG Powertools, Phoenix Accelerate, Oakley, Rota with Media Partners Philippine Daily Inquirer, Autocar, Wheels PH,, C! Mag, AutoIndustriya, ESPN5

Round 1 at Batangas Racing Circuit served as the debut performance for a large part of the V1 grid as the off-season saw a lot of new drivers and teams join the second season of the country’s first homegrown formula series. And these drivers showed that Philippine motorsports is definitely not lacking in talent.

9 of these drivers tasted the podium that day

Race 1 in the AM Class saw 16-year old Alex Brown prove that he’s more than ready to move up from karting as he claimed pole position and maintained the lead until the checkered flag. Talking about his first non-karting race, he shared that “I’ve never even 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.” The returning Shane Henderson finished second and Red Diwa completed the podium lineup.

Henderson, Brown, and Diwa show off their hard-won trophies

In the Pro series, Cleanfuel’s Japanese driver, Ryo Yamada, secured first place despite a strong challenge by the young duo of Stefan Ramirez and Estefano Rivera, who placed second and third respectively. Yamada has been competing in Japan’s Vita series for three years and found the Giti-Formula V1 Challenge to be a comparable experience stating that the “machines are very good and the drivers are very competitive.” Like Brown, this weekend marked his first time at BRC as well. “It’s very narrow and bumpy, I like it because it’s challenging.”

Rivera, Yamada, and Ramirez enjoying their first win

Race 2 had Brown and Yamada repeat their first-place performances while the 2nd and 3rd place finishers had to be content with swapping positions on the podium.

The final race started off with the reverse-grid system and what looked to become a wet track. But during a race start delay–due to a technical issue with the track–the weather held aside from a slight drizzle. On the fourth lap heading into fifth, the race was red-flagged after Dominic Roque got involved in an accident that took him out of the race. Thankfully Roque was uninjured in what was the biggest racing incident of the day.

After the shortened seven-lap but no less action-packed race, Estefano Ramirez clinched first place in the Pro Class followed by Raymond Ronquillo of Frontrow Racing and Jussi Hoikka of Growl-Thule Racing Team achieving their best finishes–Ryo Yamada slipped to fourth while Stefan Ramirez suffered from an error and dropped to last place.

Ronquillo and Hoikka flank Rivera for the final Pro Class result

The new finishers had a lot to say about a breathless weekend, Hoikka stated afterwards that “Wow, this weekend has been intense but this race was the most intense wheel-to-wheel I’ve ever had I think…and the closest racing and greatest fun I’ve had!”

Ronquillo, who showcased good defense in race 3, lightened the mood and shared that he almost didn’t join this weekend. “I got into an accident last Friday and I was about to back out, but I was embarrassed to back out on my sponsors…buti swinerte tayo, and naka-pwesto ng second.”

In the AM Class, Alex Brown completed his hat-trick while Red Diwa came in second and Bryan Co rounded out the top three–Co was simply thankful to avoid the many on-track events, “I’m lucky to get third because I wasn’t involved in any incidents!” he joked.

Diwa, Brown, and Co celebrate with Giti’s track ambassadors

Phoenix’s Young Driver Raffy Rabe also obtained his best result in race 3–finishing fourth–a reward for his good performance despite a short time to prepare for his V1 debut.

But if one quote would sum up the weekend, it would be from Estefano Rivera who experienced every position on the podium during round 1: “That was crazy race man…a fantastic race weekend for Tuason Racing. Looking forward to Clark!”

And despite the dominance some drivers have established during the first round, Tuason Racing CEO and founder, JP Tuason, thinks it’s still a wide-open series, “someone who is fast at BRC may not be the same at CIS, so it’s still early doors and it’s going to be a very interesting season!”

See you all at Clark International Speedway for Round 2 on July 20-21!

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