Gio Rodriguez of 'Pilipinas Got Talent' fame stood out in the inaugural leg of the 2013 Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship series over the weekend.
Rodriguez clinched back-to-back victories to take the pro division title on the eighth year of the country's longest-running drift series that drew a bumper crop of drivers from both the amateur and pro divisions during back-to-back rounds at the Megatent in Libis, Quezon City.
Rodriguez, carrying the colors of Team Atoy Customs, immediately took control by ruling Round One on Saturday. Tintin David, the series' sole lady drifter, took the second spot while coming in third was 2011 champion and 2012 overall runner-Up Audel Sison of Team Autocraft Drift.
Rodriguez, a finalist in the ABS-CBN talent search show with partner Ralph Tan, returned to the same course the next day to dominate Round Two. Coming in second was six-time Lateral Drift Champion Alex Perez of Team Yellow Cab Drift and Boodie Dabasol of Team Turbo Cafe was third.
In the amateur division, Round One was topped by Cedric Cabanero, who impressed the judges enough that the Singaporean was allowed to run in the pro category in the succeeding rounds on a probationary status. He was followed by Robert Tan and newcomer Mark Bernardo in that order.
Tan bounced back to take Round Two for his maiden first-place finish. Finishing behind him was EJ Malibiran from Team Drift MOB while Bernardo again landed in third.
D1 Grand Prix drifter Kimihiro Obata and his wife, Formula Drift driver Hiromi Kajikuma, were among the judges. The couple from Japan also lent their expertise as they coached local drifters on various drifting techniques while giving free rides to the fans.
Round Three of the 2013 Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship will be held on September 28.