Kodric secures podium after stunning comeback to close gap on title leaders in International GT Open at Barcelona

September 2019
Martin Kodric
A stunning comeback and podium saw Martin Kodric close the gap at the top of the International GT Open on the penultimate weekend of the Championship (21-22 Sept).

The Croatian driver and his Teo Martin McLaren teammate Henrique Chaves looked to have lost ground on the leaders in the title race after running wide early on in the first race at Barcelona and re-joining near the back.

But a brilliant drive saw him pull the team back into contention for an unlikely victory, before settling for third-place in the end.

And a fourth-place finish in the final race, helped them close the gap at the top to just 11 points leading into the final weekend with all still to play for.

The ADD Management racer said: “It wasn’t the best weekend, but it was solid. We would have liked to have come away with a win - you always want to win - but a podium and closing the gap on the leaders puts us in a good position.

“It was a bit disappointing to make the mistake in the first race, but I was attacking and pushing hard and sometimes you make small mistakes like this.

“But a podium and a P4 aren’t the worst results for us and now it means we go into the last weekend without the extra penalty points.”

A disappointing weekend at Silverstone last time out had seen the leaders open up a 17-point gap.

But the team hit the ground running this time round, feeling positive and looking fast in practice. After trying different set-ups, Martin finished P3 in FP2.

However, when it came to qualifying the weather had changed and without any time in the car in the wet, the driver was happy with a P5.

He got off to a good start in the first race and was set on attacking one of the cars ahead until a late brake saw him run wide and onto the gravel.

It meant he re-joined the track in P19 and with a lot of work to do. Impressively, he was up for the fight, expertly overtaking the cars in front to get them back to P7 and with the team running Martin a little longer to determine if they would change to slicks at the change-over.

On his advice, they boxed-in and changed to slicks, with Henrique then having a distinct advantage over the drivers who had not changed tyres.

Amazingly, they were soon in contention to win the race despite the rocky start - until a small contact with another driver forced him off the track and onto the gravel, with another contact later leaving him with too much to do. But he recovered well to finish P3 in the end.

Martin Kodric: "We are confident we can do it. The Championship is still there to be won and I will give it my all as always."

Henrique started well in the second qualifying session before hitting traffic and finishing P9.

The driver made a good start to the second race with Martin taking over in P8. Martin got some fast laps in again, overtaking well and moving into P4 and aiming to close the gap on the cars in front. However, the team decided to keep the position in order to race at Monza without the extra success penalty and they came in with a P4.

The pair now sit just 11 points off the leaders heading into the last weekend at Monza in October.

He added: “We scored some good points and now can look forward to Monza without any penalty points on the ultimate round.

“We are confident we can do it. The Championship is still there to be won and I will give it my all as always.

“We have caught up to the leaders so believe we can win the races and then we will just have to see where that leaves us in the standings – hopefully it will be enough.”