An Auto Rally For Road Safety

That headline of our column would definitely be considered an oxymoron if we’re talking of an auto rally as it is known today, which is based on speed — top speed.

Well, the just concluded 2018 Phoenix Petroleum STV Auto Rally Corporate Challenge, which runs in its great part on public roads is not a race. It is not based on speed but on precision driving. To win, a team must try to be consistently “on time all the time”. It should aim to always come as close as possible to all the prescribed time and speed to travel from one point to another and even in between—indeed to be precise as precise can be. And this is to be done while following all traffic rules and regulations as any infringement would mean an outright disqualification from the competition. It is indeed an auto rally where road safety is paramount.

Difficult? You bet it is. But the ranks of participants leveling up every time we hold this ‘Sampaguita Rally’ (a take off from Europe’s ‘Tulip Rally’) by registering up to the second “perfect times” are surprisingly increasingly.

A total of 10 car manufacturers and importers (Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Lexus, Mazda, Mini, SsangYong, and Volkswagen) participated in this year’s staging of the only motor sport event that the local auto industry players openly compete against each other, although the spirit behind their participation is more of promoting industry camaraderie. But admittedly not for their teams that always come ready for a fierce but very friendly contest of teamwork and skills.

Rows of brand news automobile models were parked at the rally’s parc ferme or waiting area for participating vehicles that was located right in front of the very new and impressive West Aeropark Building within the expansive Clark Global City. It’s one of the top-notched developments in the former American airbase, which counts among the multiple enterprises of young business tycoon Dennis Uy whose legendary meteoric rise is considered nothing short of phenomenal.

And this year’s STV-ARCC was there for a reason. The young tycoon’s flagship enterprise, Phoenix Petroleum is the rally’s Presenter and their newly launched fuel; Phoenix Fuels with Pulse Technology is the rally’s ‘Official Fuel’.

While in the past the STV-ARCC was held in a single venue alternating between Tagaytay City, Subic or Clark, the 2018 edition ran from Clark to Subic and back—a first. The second flag off of the rally which was in Subic was held at the Ayala Harbor Point Mall, another loyal supporter of the STV ARCC courtesy of the dynamic tandem of Derrick Manuel and Argee Gomez. Another first, although not an integral part of the competition is its ‘fuel performance benchmarking’ of participating vehicles while in ‘rally mode’.

With the participation of NLEX Corporation as a Cooperating Sponsor, this year’s rally’s route deliberately included passing through some tollgates, a couple of which, without the knowledge of participants were actually ‘time checkpoints’. It’s an effort to demonstrate the present seamless travel between the NLEX and SCTEX through strategically located toll plazas and the use of modern RFIDs.

Part of the 2018 Phoenix Petroleum’s STV-ARCC’s flag off ceremonies last Saturday, May 12 were inspiring remarks from the rally’s major supporters like Glenson LimUdenna Land, Inc.’s GM followed by NLEX Corporation President and CEO Rod Franco, capped by Celina Matias, AVP for Brand and Marketing of Phoenix Petroleum.



Ray Butch Gamboa (2018, May 16). An Auto Rally for Road Safety Retrieved from