Stage rallying on dirt roads was hugely popular in the heyday of Philippine motorsports, especially with works teams gunning for gold in the 1990s.
Legends like 10-time rally champion Vip Isada, Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) motorsports director Mandy Eduque and the late six-time Slalom King Danny Santiago were born on those treacherous tracks, hurtling their cars to victory, rain or shine, day or night.
Attempts to bring dirt stage rallying back have been few and far between, with the last one being held in Pampanga in 2018.
Fortunately, the Philippine Rally is back for 2023, with the first round being held on May 27 to 28, 2023, in Capas, Tarlac. Similar to the event five years ago, this season’s rally will be organized by the people behind the Philippine Rallycross Series (PHRX).
“We want nothing but to keep the sport alive. PHRX’s passion is rooted from the love of rallying,” said PHRX race director and veteran rally driver Olson Camacho.
“It also comes from a promise I made with the late Jun Espino to continue reviving the sport,” he added.
Espino is another of the Philippines’ motorsport legends, who was first known as one of the most talented rally navigators around. Prior to his passing, he had worked as AAP motorsports steward.
Over 60 km of unpaved terrain
The first round of this season’s Philippine Rally will kick off at New Clark City.
Scheduled for 12 special stages, the actual action will take place on the dirt roads of Capas in the province of Tarlac. The rally will cover a total distance of over 60 km, consisting of surfaces with gravel, dirt, and mud.
PHRX said the coming rally will be a test of strategy, endurance and teamwork between drivers and their co-drivers.
Learn more about PHRX and the Philippine Rally by visiting the official PHRX Facebook page.
Meanwhile, Round 2 of the 2023 Philippine Rally is scheduled for July 29 to 30, 2023.
Would you like to live out your World Rally Championship dreams in the Philippine Rally?
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