Croatian driver Martin Kodric was happy to get among the points in his Blancpain GT Series Asia debut this weekend (7-9 April). The 19-year-old hit the ground running in extremely hot and humid conditions that saw the track at Sepang, Malaysia, hit 50 degrees.
While Vincenzo Sospiri Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was off the pace of some of their competitors, they were happy with a P8 and points in the first race – despite losing 18 seconds in the pits.
The new pairing of Sandy Stuvik and Kodric gelled well but also lost valuable time again in the second race after being forced off the track, which left them in P16 at the end. But the pairing – among the youngest in the series – still ended up in fifth place in the Silver Cup standings overall.
Kodric left in a positive mood after an individual performance that saw him improve as the weekend progressed – and as the most consistently fast Lamborghini driver overall.
He said: “It was a good weekend. It was a totally new experience for me in Asia, with the temperature of the track extremely hot and the humidity really high. But I adjusted to that really quickly. I was fastest in the wet, but in the dry we lacked the raw speed. To finish fifth in the Silver Cup standings with the problems we had was really positive. If we can develop the car and keep progressing for the next race, I’m sure we can be up there challenging for podiums.”
With 15 minutes qualifying sessions for both drivers on Saturday, Stuvik went out first with the amateurs, finishing fifth in class and P7. Kodric was also fifth in class despite some braking issues and finished with a P11.
Stuvik started race one and was up to fifth before handing over to Kodric. Unfortunately, some problems in the pits saw them take 18 seconds to leave and he found himself in 10th when he got back on track.
He drove brilliantly to get back into eighth position but was forced to defend his last laps - fending off a group of chasing cars trying to find a way through and with the pace to do so. He expertly held them off and ensured eighth position for his team.
Kodric made a good start in the second race, starting from 11th and making up two places by the first corner. But he was forced onto the grass to avoid a collision and then had to return to the pits to have grass removed from the radiator. He rejoined on the lead lap, but over a minute and a half off the leaders.
The racer then showed brilliant pace and was one of the fastest drivers on the track before handing over to Stuvik. The pair finished in 16th - but it was enough to see them in fifth in the Silver Cup standings.
Kodric added: “We leave Sepang with mixed emotions, but a positive vibe overall. It wasn’t the results we would have liked, but Sandy and I got on really well and we settled into the races quickly. We were really pacey by the end of the weekend, so with some changes to the car and if BOP is adjusted accordingly, we will hopefully be able to show what we can do in the next round.”
The drivers now move on to the Chang International Circuit, Thailand on 20-21 May.