Croatian driver Martin Kodric was denied the perfect ending to a brilliant season in the World Final of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo at Valencia.
The Team Bonaldi Motorsport racer’s title hunt ended before the first turn when the leader accelerated and slowed twice in quick succession - leaving Kodric unable to avoid a collision. While the leader was penalised for the dangerous manoeuvre, it forced the 19-year-old into retiring early.
And while he managed a fifth place finish in the second race, the overall places were decided on the position of the two races combined, leaving the talented teen unable to compete for the silverware his pace, power and progress deserved.
The ADD Motorsport-supported driver said:
"I was really disappointed to be forced to retire in that manner. I had the chance of being world champion taken away. We were second fastest in the warm-up and finished third in qualifying, so had the pace."
“But as soon as the first race got under way the leader accelerated and slowed twice when he was supposed to keep a constant speed. There was nothing I could do and the contact left me with a punctured radiator."
“I drove pretty well in the second race, but any chance of getting on the podium at the end of the weekend was already gone.”
Kodric’s title hunt in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe went down to the wire on Friday, with the racer’s fourth and fifth place finishes leaving him just outside the podium places in fourth overall.
But as one of the youngest and least experienced drivers in the competition, he put his name on the map and left with a growing reputation after a win and three podiums during a hard fought campaign.
The World Final then took centre stage, with the Europe, North America and Asia competitions combining for the season’s thrilling climax with Pro, Am and Pro-Am classifications.
Kodric hit the ground running in the warm-up, clocking up the second fastest time, before showing he was a real contender for the World Final title, qualifying third for the first race and despite being impeded by traffic, fifth for the second. However, the leader in the first race – featuring more than 50 cars again - positioned directly in front of third-place Kodric, accelerated and slowed down twice from the start. The second time left the driver no time to brake and ended his race.
The second race was blighted by torrential rain, with poor visibility throughout. But Kodric gave a good account of himself, finishing fifth behind the safety car.
The driver now gets a well-deserved break, before embarking on an exciting new challenge.
“It’s been had a fantastic season - I’ve worked really hard and I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot and improved race-on-race. I want to thank Team Bonaldi Motorsport, ADD Motorsports and everyone who has worked with me throughout the season for their support."
“It looks certain I’ll be driving in Blancpain GT3 in Asia and Europe next season, although things are still to be finalised. But I’m really looking forward to my next challenge where hopefully I can keep on improving and challenging at the top.”
Fraser Sheader, director of performance and management team ADD Motorsports, added:
“We were really gutted for Martin in the World Final, we really thought he had a good chance until he was forced out through no fault of his own.
“But when you look at the season as a whole he can be really proud. He finished up one of the highest rookies by some margin, matured enormously and has come a really long way through hard work and determination. He has proved he can bring a car home in endurance car racing and has shown he has what it takes to be competitive at this level and above. We are delighted for him and now all looking forward to whatever opportunity comes his way.”