Croatian driver Martin Kodric blew away the competition at the Paul Ricard 1000km to secure a second consecutive win in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup this weekend (23-24 June).
The 20-year-old took his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 from 44th to 15th overall and ninth to first in the Pro-Am class to set up a stunning victory for Barwell Motorsports in the six-hour race.
After struggling for pace in practice and qualifying, a top-five finish had looked the best the trio of Amstutz, Kodric and Kujala could hope for.
However, some brilliant strategic planning, combined with the skill and consistency of ADD Motorsports-supported racer Kodric, turned it all around.
Not only did see it see them romp home by nearly 30 seconds in the end, but after their win at Silverstone in the last round, helped them close the gap on the leaders to just eight points.
He said: “It was an amazing weekend. It was my first six-hour race and I think the best win of my career. “It looked like it wasn’t going to happen and we were a bit disappointed after qualifying. “But it proved the point of never giving it up. We kept going and got a brilliant win. To win by 30 seconds in the end was a superb effort. “Personally, I thought I did as much as I could. I gave it 100 per cent with some good overtakes and was really consistent throughout. “I’ve come away buzzing. It’s definitely up there with my best performances.”
With 58 cars on the list for the day-night event, the Paul Ricard 1000km was an important marker for the teams with one and a half times the points available - and with the highlight of the Championship, Total 24 Hours of Spa, up next.
But in hot conditions, they started off slowly in practice and were well off the pace – although were confident things would be different during the cooler evening race temperatures.
However, the Balance of Performance (BoP) made life difficult for the team and left them on the backfoot after qualifying – despite Patrick Kujala’s best efforts.
After a solid start by Adrian Amstutz, Kodric took over for his two hour 12 minute spell with the team well behind.
During his first stint he was frustratingly stuck behind another driver without the pace to get past, although still managed to take the team from ninth to sixth in class.
But after bringing him in early to swap to new tyres, he came out for his second stint in unstoppable form - taking them up from sixth to first in class. Overall, the young driver made up a huge 29 places to put the team in total command.
Patrick Kujala was then able to stay in front during his spell and take the car home in 12th overall, but more importantly, for a well-deserved victory in their class.
It leaves the team on 60 points, just eight behind the leaders, with the Total 24 Hours of Spa next up, on 27-30 July.
Fraser Sheader, director of performance and management team ADD Motorsports, added: “I’m thrilled with Martin’s performance this weekend, he really turned the race around.
“He proved his worth to the team again with some brilliant driving and overtakes and great overall consistency during his spells.
“He showed what he can do and what a great driver he is, I’m really proud of him.”