By NICK GIONGCO
His European looks notwithstanding, Marlon Stockinger takes pride in racing under the Philippine banner.
The son of a Swiss businessman Tom and a Filipino mother, the young Stockinger told the media yesterday that he feels an extraordinary rush of adrenaline whenever he gets the chance to race abroad, proud that the sticker of a Philippine flag is emblazoned in his vehicle.
“Actually it’s just not for me,” said Stockinger at the Hard Rock Cafe in Makati. “As long as the sticker is that of the Philippine flag, I feel very proud that I am giving honor to the country.”
Stockinger took centerstage in mid-2013 when he was given the privilege of driving a Lotus Formula Once car in the streets of Manila, which was regarded as a milestone in Philippine morotsports.
“It was a historic moment. It had never been done and it was a great experience (for me),” said Stockinger during yesterday’s event that was organized by Racewell Marketing and backed by Petronas Lubricants.
After that epic moment last year, Stockinger went on to campaign in Europe and managed to make it to the podium at least five times.
While his dream of barging into F1 remains just that at the moment, Stockinger is upbeat that his time will come as long as he “keeps my form.”
To get ready for this year’s races, Stockinger kicked off his buildup by keeping himself in shape, shunning the dinner table during the recent holidays as much as he could.
“While everyone was celebrating, I was running 10 kilometers and lifting weights.”
The topic during the free-for-all chit-chat turned a bit serious when somebody asked him about the accident suffered by Formula One legend Michael Schumacher of Germany during a ski incident in the Italian Alps.
Stockinger said he had idolized Schumacher during his early days as a competitor and he feels deeply for the Ferrari main man.
“He is my racing idol. It was terrible but he’s a tough guy and he’s going to recover from this,” he said.
As the issue of safety was being raised, the elder Stockinger took his turn on the dais, saying he had once felt anxious everytime his son would get behind the wheel.
“Now (even) when you go out, you take a calculated risk,” he said.
But it seems Stockinger senior has to be content with that feeling as his son has grown more determined to become better.
Besides, for a guy who “breathes, eats and thinks racing,” there is simply no way to stop him from his passion of enjoying the smell of burnt rubber, the screeching of tires and the ear-splitting sound of a revving engine.