19-year-old Croatian driver Martin Kodric rounded-off a thrilling season by picking up a prestigious award recognising his achievements — the Talent of the Year prize at the FIA Central Europe Zone awards on Saturday evening.
The accolade followed an outstanding 2016 for Team Bonaldi Motorsport in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, that saw the teenager’s title chase gain him recognition as one of the most exciting young talents from the region.
After collecting his trophy, the delighted ADD Motorsports-supported racer said:
“To be presented with this award was a great honour and really topped off the season for me. “To be recognised in this way, especially around this part of Europe, means a lot and shows my hard work is paying off and that we are heading in the right direction. “I hope this will just be the start of an exciting journey.”
The CEZ, which includes the countries Italy, Hungary, Austria, Croatia and Poland, is one of the most active regions in the world for motorsport, with 74 events on the 2016 FIA international calendar. The awards ceremony was the highlight of the FIA Sport Regional Congress Central Europe Zone held in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. Martin’s award was voted by the board of the CEZ countries and is given to an ‘extraordinary performance of a young driver’ and based on results gained at FIA-recognised events.
The racer’s title hunt in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe went down to the wire at the beginning of the month, with the racer finishing tantalisingly-close to a podium finish 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. He was then denied the perfect ending to a brilliant season in the World Final at Valencia after qualifying third, when the leader’s dangerous manoeuvre – that saw him penalised - ended his race.
Martin is expected to be driving in Blancpain GT3 in Asia and Europe next season, although the details are still to be finalised. But after such an exciting season, the driver can’t wait to get back on the track again.
“It was a great season, especially for my first in a GT car. It got better and better as the season went on. I got some great podiums and a win and felt as though I could have got the win earlier if things had gone my way. “I learnt a lot this year and it was a perfect introduction to the GT world. The competition was hard and it also helped move me on. “We have a break now, but I’ll be keeping fit, testing and getting time in on the simulator. “But I can’t wait to get going again and hopefully pushing on again next season.”