Points finish for Kodric and Stuvik in GT3 debut
9th April 2017 - Blancpain GT Series Asia, Round 1 - Sepang (Malaysia)
The inaugural race of the Blancpain GT Series Asia took place at Sepang in Malaysia this weekend and Vincenzo Sospiri Racing was present with a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Martin Kodric and Sandy Stuvik. The pair, one of the youngest in the Series, entered the Silver Cup class, the second largest category in the bumper field of thirty cars.
After three days of testing and free practice, two frenetic qualifying sessions of fifteen minutes each took place on Saturday morning. Stuvik went out in Q1, a session which was red-flagged twice, once at the halfway point and again with two minutes left. The session was not restarted leaving Stuvik on row four, fifth in class. Kodric took over for Q2 which saw an almost identical situation with an unwelcome red at the halfway point. Further improvements were impossible when the session restarted and Kodric qualified on row seven, again 5th in class.
Stuvik took the start for race one and behind him a start-line accident bought out the safety car which neutralised the race for four laps. The track went green on lap five and much of the first part of the race was spent with the top six fighting their way past Liu's Ferrari. The number 86 Audi was the first to get ahead and the eventual race winner streaked off into the distance creating a gap which proved unbeatable. On lap nine Stuvik passed the Ferrari to move into 5th and started chasing down Gounon's Porsche. The pit window opened and on lap thirteen VSR called Stuvik in to hand over to Kodric. When the pit window closed and the race settled down the Croatian found himself down in 10th place. His pace during his stint allowed him to pick off two places and he spent his last laps defending 8th from a train of Audi's.
Kodric lined up on the grid for Sunday's race in 11th place and after making a good start ran wide in turn three and was forced to return to the pits to have grass removed from the front radiator. He rejoined the race still on the lead lap but over a minute and a half behind the leading cars. With no safety car to bunch up the field there was little to be done in the hour long race except show the potential pace of the car. Kodric was soon one of the fastest men on the track and quickly caught and passed the GT4 cars as he fought to close up on the GT3 pack. On lap fifteen he pitted to hand the Lamborghini over to Stuvik who continued to push hard as he reeled in the back of the pack. When the chequered flag came out the Thai driver had come back up to 16th place overall, 7th in the Silver Cup. The points earned in both races have left the drivers in 5th place in the Silver Cup standings.
The next round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia will be at the Chang Circuit in Buriram, Thailand on 20th - 21st May.