The third season of the Touge Battle race series has kicked off with the Subaru STi driven by Hernel Castillo and the Toyota Yaris of Venet Felisco emerging the winners of the first leg held at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga over the weekend.
“This is a new form of racing that caters to those who want to start racing in a safe and controlled environment. The local version of Touge Battle is an adaptation from its origins in Japan where they do mountain pass racing,” said EZ Ligaya, head of race organizer Aggressive Line.
Castillo took the first win of the day in the Turbo-plus Class using his silver Subaru STI while Kevin Sugden and Angelo Elinon following closely in second and third places, respectively. Elinon, despite his third place finish in the Turbo-plus Division, managed to bag the Newbie Division trophy.
In the Economy Division, last year’s third placer Felisco took top honors with his Toyota Yaris against defending champion Daniel Leonardo 3rd and newcomer Mars De Los Reyes.
“The economy class may be the most exciting class to watch this 2016 season,” Ligaya said.
Marbel Bayombong clinched the first win in the Regular Class in a close race against Norlan Orpilla and autocross champion Robert Tan.
In the Premium division, reigning champion Brennan Lim strengthened his grip in the top spot with a win in the opening races.
The opening event of the Touge Battle series was graced by international race car drivers, American Greg Wood and Australian Shane Henderson.
The next races of the series will take place at the Batangas Racing Circuit in Rosario, Batangas on February 6.
Cat and mouse chase
Race organizer Ligaya said Touge Battle is essentially a cat-and-mouse chase type of racing where two cars compete with each other with the winner advancing to the next rounds via knockout system.
“Car No. 1 is released and after four seconds, car No. 2 is then released. The lap times and gap of the release are timed at the start and at the finish. The lead or chase car needs to be faster by just .05 of a second to win the battle,” he said.
“The drivers then switch to do it again. First who gets two wins moves on to the next round. Due to the four-second release gap, there is no need to overtake your opponent to win. This creates a much safer form of racing and eliminates dirty driving tactics,” Ligaya added.
A competitor who overtakes to win is disqualified for putting themselves and their opponents at risk. This format aims to make the drivers focus on their driving skills, hopefully developing those skills as the races progress.