The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) honored the country’s best race drivers of 2015 at the 21st Annual Motor Sport Awards Night last Thursday, April 7, at the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) on Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
As the only Philippine member of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile/International Automobile Federation), the Paris-based organization that governs all four-wheel motor sports worldwide, AAP is authorized to organize, supervise and sanction car races in the country, and issue competition licenses.
The recognition ceremony was held on the opening day of the 12th Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) at the adjacent World Trade Center.
AAP board members led by president Gus Lagman and motor sports department chairman Mandy Eduque attended the awards night. Lagman was among the special guests of MIAS who cut the ribbon when the car show opened in the morning. Eduque, a former rally car driver and recipient of the 2016 Hall of Fame Golden Wheel Award, gave the opening remarks at the motor sports awards night.
The awards consisting of trophies and commendations were divided into 26 categories reflecting the various disciplines of motor sports recognized by the FIA.
The 2015 Driver of the Year awardees are: Medarlo Emilio Rivera (Slalom); Gabriel Cabrera (Karting); Martin Manalo (Drag); Richmon Dela Rosa (Circuit) and Bomvet SJ Santos (4×4 Off-Road).
In the Philippine Touring Car Championship (PTCC), those awarded were Ivan Kailer Diaz (Division 3 Class Champion); Joginder Sin (Division 3 Class first runner-up); and Edwin Rodriguez (Division 3 Class second runner-up).
Patrick Dela Rosa was declared the PTCC Division 2 Class Champion while the first and second runners-up are Dindo De Jesus and NR Joaquin, respectively. Joaquin was also proclaimed the PTCC Rookie of the Year.
For the Division 1 Class, Richmon Dela Rosa was announced as Champion, Walter Zamora came in as first runner-up and Paolo Mantolino placed second runner-up.
In the National Karting Series, Christopher Joaquin Garrido was declared Cadet Class Champion; Eduardo Coseteng Jr. as Mini ROK Class Champion; Jacob Ang as Junior Class Champion; and Gabriel Cabrera topped the line-up as the Senior Class Champion.
The top racers for the Asian Karting Open Championship were the same youngsters since Garrido, Coseteng Jr. and Ang bagged the same titles. But this time, a namesake of the famous basketball icon, Michael Jordan, was crowned Senior Class Champion.
In the Philippine Grand Touring Series, Willie Torres was declared GT 300 Class Champion.
The Special Award recipients were Andres Calma as Vios Cup Overall Champion and Ariel “Azon” Esteban as Marshal of the Year.
AAP introduced the First Motor Sport Development Program (MSDP) finalists: Jero Consing, Polo Bautista, Paolo Santos, Chenee Jimenez, Bernard Michael Santos and Raymond Cudala.
Eduque said the Second MSDP, the first nationwide grassroots racing program developed by AAP with a grant from the FIA Foundation, began last month and is seeking more young participants (ages 16-19) to join.
The MSDP consists of classroom-type lectures, hands-on workshops and practical driving tests featuring road safety and motor sports driving techniques. Aside from Metro Manila, the Second MSDP will be conducted in Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, Bacolod, Cebu and Davao this year.
Through the MSDP, AAP aims to discover and develop talented young drivers for competition with the end in view of not only honing their abilities, but also to grow local motor sports.