THE AAP CORNER

Street racing can be dangerous to your health

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The other week, or on November 13, proved to be a freaky Friday when a high-performance sports coupe being test-driven by an unidentified individual visiting an auto show at the Mall of Asia complex “totaled” it.

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A witness posted a photo of the smashed car on Top Gear Philippines’ Facebook page with this message: “Hyundai Genesis test drive car overshot on the curve, rammed the center island, crossed the other side of the road and hit one biker [in critical condition]. This happened along Seaside Boulevard in MOA complex.”

Ironically, the following words were painted clearly on the ripped-off rear bumper of the car: “Anyone can drive in a straight line but only a few can drift.”

The driver was reportedly drift-racing the car on an open public street although the test-driving of exhibited cars was ostensibly limited to a small, enclosed circuit track that had speed limit signs posted along the way.

The rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis coupe is often used in drifting demonstrations and contests. But the auto show’s test drive option was not intended to be a drifting event.

This road crash could have been averted if the organizer of the auto show and the dealers/exhibitors had strictly confined the test-driving of cars by visitors to the designated track, safely away from public vehicular traffic.

True, the driver was accompanied by a car sales agent, but apparently the latter allowed the car to be driven on Seaside Boulevard, off the track, and failed to stop the driver from drifting, resulting in serious injury to a bicycle rider who happened to be there. Not to mention costly damage to the car’s engine room and rear end.

The test-drive option offered to the public at the auto show at MOA was not meant to be a venue for self-proclaimed race drivers to abuse the exhibited cars, but it deteriorated into that. In effect, the test-drive option became an auto fun run, which has long been condemned by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) as dangerous and risky.

AAP Director Mandy Eduque, who chairs the association’s motor sports committee, has often warned that holding auto fun runs on open streets threatens the safety of both drivers and spectators as well as property.

“Like we always tell and remind aspiring race car drivers, if you want to test and show off your driving skills, do so in a confined and controlled environment like a speedway in order to ensure the safety of everything and everyone involved,” Eduque, a former champion rally car driver, said.

AAP is the only Philippine affiliate of the FIA (International Automobile Federation), the Paris-based organization that governs all four-wheel motor sport worldwide including Formula One, the World Rally Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As such, AAP is authorized by the FIA to organize and/or sanction legitimate four-wheel motor sport events in the Philippines and issue competition licenses and motor sport officials’ licenses.

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