HITTING THE GYM(KHANA)

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This pair of Mitsubishi Mirages survived four rounds of gymkhana action in the hands of around 70 competitors—no small feat, this.

AFTER being hailed as the 2012-2013 Car of the Year Philippines, Mitsubishi Motors Phils. Corp.’s (MMPC) smallest yet still functional model, the Mirage, provided a dose of fun through a series of driving events.

On June 29, July 20, August 3 and August 17, MMPC staged the Mitsubishi Mirage Gymkhana Series—held at different mall parking lot venues—to showcase how such a minute car like the Mirage perform in tight courses. According to MMPC’s advertising and PR personnel Rosemary Cruz, the invitational precision-driving competition was participated in by teams coming from Mitsubishi’s fleet-account customers, car clubs loyal to the brand, and members of the motoring media.

The Mirage GLS M/T used in the gymkhana was modified with a K&N air intake, Hot Pipes headers and Nitto tires.

Learning the ropes


For a beginner competitor like myself, the gymkhana proved as a way to meet colleagues in the industry, as well as serve as a training ground for fellow newbies on the art of precision driving. The event also made me realize that although the car must be well-equipped, its driver should also have ample skills in order to win in a competition where speed is not much of a factor, but rather how accurate one is.

During the first leg, I made a very costly mistake on my first run. And the lesson I learned was that even if you have been driving for quite some time, you could never be that prepared and be lax about it. I actually thought I was ready, but after my run through the tight course I was given the maximum time allowed as a penalty for taking the wrong turn (so much for that “mustered confidence”).

Having missed the second and third legs of the event, I was raring to take to the track again. And this time, I got better results—enough for me to regain the pride I lost in the first leg and wiser that I could never be too confident.

The Times’ team did not finish on the podium, but the knowledge I gained in the competition—plus the bonding time the event had allowed for—gave me an idea of what I need to win in similar events.

Winners

In the media division, the top three finishers were teams Autoindustriya, STV and Top Gear while the fleet and club divisions were led by teams from Club Mitsu (A), MyMitsu and Club Mitsu (B).

The overall series champion received P100,000, a trophy and gift packs from Pilipinas Shell Corp., AVT, Nitto Tires and Concept One, SpeedLab and 3M Phils. The first runner-up and second runner-up took P50,000 and P25,000, plus gift packs.

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