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King of Nations Rd4 & King of Asia Grand Final - Clark Speedway, Philippines
May 31, 2018
As the Federal Tyres King of Nations and King of Asia series headed to Clark Speedway in the Philippines for the first time, an impressive spectacle saw Japan’s Daigo Saito reign supreme against the all-star line-up with Thai driver Keng PTT’s second position sealing him the 2018 Federal Tyres King of Asia championship!
As both the drivers and their cars battled through the immense heat at Clark Speedway, the new t track offers an entry in excess of 200km/h, undoubtedly the highest in the calendar, followed by flowing corners with steep elevation changes to push drivers to their limits.
With the practice sessions complete, it was straight into qualification. After taking second place overall in the previous round in Thailand, Daigo Saito brought his insane Lexus SC430 out of retirement to immediately boost himself back to the top position, scoring 94.30 points as well as securing the highest recorded attack speed of 197km/h!
Once again showing fantastic form, it was previous round winner, Hong Kong’s Charles NG that landed second place with 89.30 points.
King of Nations and King of Asia series leader Keng PTT was desperate to secure the King of Asia title at this final round, and third position in qualifying undoubtedly took him one step closer to taking the crown to Thailand.
It was Luis Gono that led the way for the local drivers as he took fourth place, as the highly-anticipated youngster prepared to go head-to-head with some of the best drivers from around the world as battle day preparation commenced.
With the sun once again scorching the asphalt on Sunday, it was time for the drivers to go head-to-head. However, it wasn’t to be for 2017 King of Asia champion, Japan’s Hirohide Tanaka and his team-mate Keiichiro Kadekaru. After unveiling their brand new shared Toyota Supra build for the event, the final nail in the coffin occurred when they headed to the start-line, sadly rendering them unable to compete.
It was a similar story for Kuwaiti driver Nasser Almutairi as his rented 1JZ Nissan PS13 suffered from engine issues throughout the weekend and despite his best efforts, he was unable to set a score, enabling Boodie Dabasol to progress.
After taking the win in his Top 32 battle in yet another brand new build for this event, Toni ‘Half Breeds’ Arakaki’s Nissan S15 build then went head-to-head with series leader Keng PTT who made absolutely no mistake in ending Arakaki’s weekend early.
Local favourite, youngster Luis Gono pushed past David Feliciano before facing Hans Jimenez in the Top 8. After a hard-fought battle, a one-more-time was issued. As Gono prepared to return to the start line, fuelling issues sadly forced the fan-favourite to end his weekend early, handing Jimenez the Top 4 spot.
Daigo Saito’s stunning run continued as he made sure to end Jimenez’s quest for a spot in the final after achieving a 7-3, 10-0 score in the reigning King of Nations' champion's favour.
It was a far more intense battle in the other semi-final, with two impressive cars and drivers, Hong Kong’s Charles NG in his S13 went against Thailand’s Keng PTT in his old-school 2JZ KE30 Corolla. It was a deadlock in the initial battle as the judges gave a 5-5 draw. A small mistake from Charles NG in the final run meant that a 6-4 advantage was drawn in Keng’s favour as ‘The Little Wizard’ used his stunning consistency to go head-to-head with Daigo Saito for the first time.
First up, the small final between Charles NG and Jimenez saw Charles comfortably secure yet another podium in the competition with an 8-2, 7-3 scoreline.
In the final battle, Daigo Saito looked set for an easy victory after taking the 7-3 advantage in the lead run, however Keng PTT wasn’t ready to let him take the win that easily, as he clawed back the vital points to force a one-more-time replay. This time, Daigo made absolutely no mistake as he clinched the win with a 7-3, 7-3 scoreline in his favour.
It was once again a stunning show from Keng PTT, who was the only driver to achieve a podium spot at all three King of Asia rounds, therefore handing him the 2018 King of Asia title with 460 points. Shortly behind was Daigo Saito, despite missing the first round he still managed to achieve an impressive 400 points. Charles NG’s, who also missed the opening round also proved that he will be in the fight for the 2019 championship race with 360 points.
It may be over here in the Philippines, but it’s far from over in Europe! This weekend we continue our next leg in France with the King of Touge series in La Chapelle du Bard before heading to Anneau du Rhin for ProSeries and Pau for King of France to conclude four back-to-back events!