Eduardo “EJ” Coseteng, Jacob Ang, and Bianca Bustamante head the Filipino vanguard against the crack foreign contingent when the country hosts the third leg of the Asian Karting Open Championships (AKOC) this weekend at the new kart track of Clark International Speedway in Pampanga.
Coseteng, the 15-year-old son of former car racing champion Jody Coseteng, paces the overall standings after two legs of the premier X30 Senior and Formula 125 Open Senior classes with 118 points.
Already the winner of last year’s AKOC Formula 125 junior crown, Coseteng totes a 12-point lead over British-Japanese Reece Ushijima and is 18 clear of the third-running Japanese Kaito Tsukada.
Ang ruled the season’s opening leg in awe-inspiring form in Macau but the scion of businessman Ramon S. Ang, top honcho of the Asian series sponsors San Miguel Corp. and Petron Corp., missed the second leg due to previous commitments. He stood fourth in the standings with 64 points.
Girl phenom Bustamante shows the way in the X30 Junior and Formula 125 Open Juniors categories with 138 points on the back of her successive victories in Macau and at Carmona Racetrack in Cavite.
Heading into the second-to-last leg of the series, she stood 36 points clear of another Filipino, Miguel Joseph Quinones, with China’s Huang Hanhong running third in Formula 125 and Tammy Baisa lodged in the same spot in X30.
Top karters from Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore started practice spins at the world-class 1.2-kilometer circuit noted for its testy 13 turns in hopes of breaking the Philippine stranglehold of the division titles in the previous legs.
Other karters to watch are ROK GP Senior class leader Yan Liang of China, Mini ROK frontrunner Joharry Suba, Formula 125 Veteran and Master Open pacesetter Jerry Choi, top local contender John Dizon and Macau’s Haydin Ching.