Champion! Martin Kodric takes Blancpain GT Series Asia title after thrilling finale at Ningbo!

October 2018
Martin Kodric
Croatian racer Martin Kodric took the Blancpain GT Series Asia title in style after a thrilling finale at Ningbo this weekend (13-14 Oct).

The brilliant FFF Racing Team by ACM driver claimed the Overall and Silver Cup crowns with a hard-fought win in the final race of the season.

The #19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 took the chequered flag by 4.1s to take the plaudits and silverware – after a superb campaign alongside jubilant teammate Dennis Lind.

And the 21-year-old ADD Management supported racer was delighted to take his first title in cars – with the promise of more to come.

He said: “I couldn’t be happier right now, it was an amazing weekend. It means a lot to me. We’ve worked really hard all season and it’s come together at the end.

“I knew we could do it. We’ve had some bad luck earlier on, but I was really positive coming into this weekend.

“It’s my first title since karting, my first title in a car, so it’s really special.

“We hope this is just the beginning with many more to come.”

The pair had moved back to the top of the standings following a win at Shanghai last time out – after a puncture at Fuji had seen them drop to second place back in July.

So they arrived in a confident mood - but knowing the success penalty from their previous win would make it an extremely close and hard-fought affair.

The drivers got used to the unusual twisting track during practice but were putting in some fast times.

Dennis went out for the first qualifying session, hitting some traffic but bringing the car home in P2.

Martin went out next, putting on a great lap in the more competitive field, with a small mistake on the last sector leaving him in P6.

Dennis made a great start in the first race, managing to avoid the early carnage after contact to one of the championship contenders.

A lengthy safety car period followed, with just seven minutes remaining before the pit window opened after the restart and little time for Dennis to build up any gap.

Martin came out of the pit on cold tyres and could do nothing as a couple of competitors passed him.

But he managed to overtake two drivers on his way to an excellent P5 finish – even after taking into account the 15-second success penalty.

Martin Kodric: “I couldn’t be happier right now, it was an amazing weekend. It means a lot to me. We’ve worked really hard all season and it’s come together at the end."

It meant the team had a lead of just five points heading into the nerve-wracking final race.

Martin got off to a great start avoiding a crash ahead of him early on and then overtaking two other cars – before settling into the race and keeping the pace, without needing to do anything drastic.

Dennis took over from his teammate on new tyres and came out right in front of one of the other title contenders who had delayed their pit stop to try to make up some time before their own success penalty took effect.

When they came out after their pit, they were in the lead – but were soon under investigation and found to have come out too early.  They then bizarrely served the subsequent stop/go penalty under time as well, meaning they were forced to stop again, putting them out of the running.

There was still time for Dennis to take on the drivers in front of him and move into second – and when the leader found himself with a fuel issue he took full advantage to take the win – and with it the Championship title.

The teammates took three wins during the memorable campaign.

Martin added: “We finished in style! To take a win at the end, made it even better.

“It’s been an amazing season and I feel I have moved on a lot as a driver this year. I have had to drive a lot under pressure and grown a lot because of it.

“I want to take the opportunity to say thank you for the amazing support and encouragement I have received from Lamborghini Squadra Corse and for all the hard work from FFF Racing and ADD Management.

“The title will definitely give me lots of confidence going forward and will hopefully be the first of many as I move forward in my career.”