MANILA, PHILIPPINES, 29th July 2012: The weather may be unpredictable at Calabarzon, Philippines, but some things remain constant – Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team’s technical par excellence and their never-say-die spirit.
In a day of stormy conditions at the Carmona Racing Circuit just outside the Metro Manila, Kartmaster Drakar proved at Round 2 of the Asian Karting Open Championships (AKOC) that it has no equal when it comes to getting the cars set up right.
Good hardware, though, needs strong heartware – and our drivers showed their fighting spirit in abundance, albeit with limited success on the wet and slippery tarmac.
Just look at on Jon Lee. Just 13 years of age, the Victoria School student defied the stormy conditions to come in a creditable 5th position in the Formula 125 Open Junior category and earned his first podium finish of the 2012 Asian Karting Open Championships (AKOC).
“I have been working very hard to earn a place on the podium on the Asian level and I am glad I did it,” said Jon. “But, to be honest with myself, this was hardly my best race. I am capable of much better performances. “The setting for my car was good. I was going fine until I got bumped out of the track a little. But hey, no complains. I will do better next time.”
Insatiable thirst for success – check.
Jon’s teammate Santos Bala, 12, finished just one spot behind (6th). Estefano Rivera of the Philippines won the event with a time of 20:02.418.
“The cars are set up perfectly but there is definitely room for improvement on my part,” said Santos. “One good lesson is it’s better to learn more about the track than to go for speed without knowing it.”
Positive thinking – check.
In the Mini-ROK category, Darryl Wenas, 11, clocked the best lap time (57.886) of his event but finished 6th.
“Other than an almost perfect lap, I made a few mistakes in the race, and ended up spinning, sliding and crashing,” said Darryl. “I will learn to better control my emotions when I race next time.”
Constant quest for improvement – check.
In the Formula 125 Open Senior Category, Kartmaster Drakar’s Opai Naufal fell short again despite a valiant effort from start to the end. The 23-year-old came in third during the qualifying heats on Saturday and 4th during pre-final on Sunday, but could not replicate his form on the final race. Mother Nature certainly played her part. Struggling for grip on a drenched track, the puddles of water on the track were like minefields that the multiple Singapore
Karting Championships (SKC) winner fought to avoid. Opai slipped to 8th position after 10 laps before incessant rain forced stewards to halt the race. Even after the storm eased up after an hour, there was no reprieve for the Singaporean, who spun out at the last corner and did not finish.
“I was desperate to climb a position during the last corner of the last lap when I braked too late, drove right into a puddle of water and spun out,” explained Opai, who came in 6th at the last AKOC in Macau. “I was too much in a haste. I should have been more patient and be more focused. ”
Fighting spirit right to the death – check.
Kartmaster Drakar’s Anderson Martono, from Indonesia, finished 8th. “My own performance was average as the conditions constantly changed. My driving in the wet in not as good as on the dry. I need more practice in the wet.”
Teammates Singaporean Julien Fong, 19, and Filipino Juan Antonio L. Carcel, 16, also did not complete the race. Juan Antonio, however, still qualified for the “Petron Super Karting Championship” as he took a double entry and got 3rd position from his pre-final timing.
Julien Fong said “Good but disappointed from various incidents. Pace was there for sure, but incidents in every race cost me the weekend. Only heat 2 was clean where I ended up 5th. ” .
Antonio on the AKOC race, “I think I gave my best, from break-in to the race. My output, to me, was very good. Although I qualified 13th in the time trial, I managed to bring myself to 7th after the heat. I maintained my position in the pre-final. It is just that my air box got flooded in the final which caused me not to finish.”
These heartware qualities shone through at Carmona, and it is proof that there is silver lining beyond the dark stormy clouds in the Philippines.
“I am pleased to see the boys take the battle right to the end despite the conditions,” said Kartmaster Drakar co-team principal Roland Chong. “It is clear that our technical staff had done a brilliant job in the set-ups of the cars. And I have to commend our drivers for pushing their limit and rising against the odds. Of course we would love to have earned more podium finishes. But more importantly, we saw the fighting spirit, the constant quest for improvement and insatiable thirst for success from the boys. “These qualities will stand us in good stead in future.”
Kartmaster Drakar would like to specially thank our sponsors for their support, all the mechanics for their hard work and setting up the karts right, and JP and his crews for their impeccable hospitality, and keeping the team dry from the wet weather.
Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team will return to competition in Round 2 of the SKC next month.