Rafa "Speedy Toughie" Caceres and Miguel "Full-Throttle" Hernandez Abaño scored 1st-runner up finishes in their Senior and Intermediate classes respectively at Palawan International Circuit (PIC) ROK GP Cup Karting Series held last May 15, 2022.
Amidst challenges encountered in competing on a different track, the newbie karters bucked the odds to win in the 1st round of the Petron Blaze 100 ROK GP Karting Series. Among the difficulties they encountered in participating is the lack of enough track practice in an unfamiliar PIC track. As members of the DRQ Motorsports, Rafa and Miguel conducts their training in their usual so called "homecourt" Carmona Racing Circuit in Cavite which is entirely different in configurations compared to PIC. According to technical specs, PIC is a 1.3-kilometers-long racetrack in Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa Palawan. Constructed in 2015, it is a technical type of track that has 15 turns that are navigated in a clockwise direction. Adding to that, most karters from Manila arrived only days before the actual competition thus limiting their seat time on practice.
Despite the situations presented in the far-off Palawan province, both newbie drivers who just started this year competing in the Nationals event showed credible performances in the time trials and qualifying before the penultimate Final round.
For racer Rafa, it is quite an insurmountable feat to be bracketed in the Seniors Class where the roster includes the AAP Driver of the Year and International Racer Miguel Quiñones , veteran karter Gabriel Carag and the female international racer Shasha Quiñones thus placing 2nd place (1st-runner Up) is quite a feat to reckon with for a newcomer. It is also worth mentioning that Rafa as called by media people as "Speedy Toughie" type of racer is coming off from an emotional defeat when he was involved in a racing incident that forced him to retire in the Finals heat in the 1st round of the Rotax Max Challenge Philippines Series last April, 2022. That sorry finish did not deter him to try again and alas this time he was able to finish ahead of veteran teammate Gaby who himself suffered kart mechanical trouble early in the laps preventing him to take top-3 podium places which is always expected of him.
In the case of Intermediate Class Racer Miguel, winning 2nd place (1st-Runner Up) is an example of a kid rising above the challenge of balancing the strategy whether to go aggressive by all means in the first few laps or be consistent in pace throughout the race focusing on the overall track performance to avoid racing incidents and miscues. Applying the principles he learned from the PMKA (Petron Motorsports Karting Academy) and the coaching tips he received from team Coach John T. Dizon (a multiple Philippines Karter of the Year himself) with the proper tuning setup of his kart from the team of veteran international mechanics led by head tuner Junior Capuyan and Jhames Rhett, the "Full-Throttle" kid Miguel overcame strong opposition to land a good performance podium finish.
The next series goes back to Clark International Speedway in Pampanga on June 17, 2022 for the 2nd round of Rotax Max Challenge.
Photo Album of Racer Rafa Caceres:
Photo Album of Racer Miguel Hernandez Abaño: