Martin Kodric takes thrilling win at Shanghai to lead Blancpain GT Series Asia Championship with one round to go

October 2018
Martin Kodric
Croatian racer Martin Kodric took a thrilling win and control of the Blancpain GT Series Asia Championship at Shanghai this weekend (22-23 Sept).

The FFF Racing Team by ACM driver and teammate Dennis Lind took double pole and the second race win after impressing throughout in their #19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

And the pair put on a pacey performance at the perfect time to move back to the top of the standings with just one round left.

The ADD Management racer, 21, said: “It was a great weekend, our strongest for pace in fact.

“I put on a great lap to take pole in qualifying and so did Dennis, but we were unlucky in the first race. The guy in second jumped the start and then put the brake on early, causing Dennis to hit him from behind and leave him with a drive-through penalty.

“But we made amends in the second race. It was really close, but Dennis did well to hold his nerve at the end.

“We came to Shanghai wanting two wins, but we got one and take the Championship lead again, so are really happy.”

A puncture at Fuji had seen the teammates drop to second place in the standings last time out, back in July.

But they arrived in a confident mood and by the third free practice – on new tyres rather than the old of FP2 – they were looking really quick.

They took this pace into qualifying with Lind taking pole – before Martin followed suit, putting on a perfect lap that saw everything come together and helped him set the fastest lap of the weekend at that juncture.

Lind started Race One in pole, but the driver in second jumped the start and got in front before braking on the corner – leaving Lind hitting his rear and causing the leader to spin.

That, together with an unrelated incident, saw the safety car out early and Lind hit with a drive-through penalty.

When racing resumed and after the penalty, Lind found himself back in 15th, but he pulled some places back and after the change, Martin came out for his spell in 8th.

Despite some fast lap times and some intense pressure, Martin was unable to pass the driver in front for some time.

Martin Kodric: "We came to Shanghai wanting two wins, but we got one and take the Championship lead again, so are really happy."

But he finally got in front and put some late pressure on the driver in sixth, before settling for P7.

Martin started from pole in Race 2, but had dropped to P6 by the end of the first lap.

After a battle with the driver in front he finally passed him and set about making up the gap to those in the front group, putting in some excellent laps.

Lind then took over in P4 and again put on some great times and with five minutes to go he had brought his car level with the two leaders in an exciting three-wide battle down the back straight.

With two laps left, a problem with the leading car saw him spin – with Lind narrowly avoiding him, before taking the car home for an excellent win.

The pair now lead the Championship by 12 points, with a maximum of 50 up for grabs across both 60-minute races on the season’s finale at Ningbo, on October 13/14.

Martin added: “We are in a great position but now carry over a success penalty from the victory, so it’s going to be tough.

“But our pace was really good this weekend and if we can put in the same kind of performances next time, we have a really good chance of taking the Championship.

“We won’t approach the races any differently, but are confident that we can go there and do it!”