New podium for Teo Martín Motorsport in GT Open with McLaren
Teo Martín Motorsport concludes the first meeting of the International GT Open at Paul Ricard with a double podium starting the new era with McLaren.
After a long pre-season with a lot of work on a new car like the McLaren 720S GT3, the team arrived at the French track with the hope of achieving great results in a circuit that brings good memories to them.
Thus, after collecting good data in the collective test on Thursday and Friday Free Practice, Saturday’s qualifying session left Allam Khodair with the first Pole Position of the year followed by Martin Kodric in third position and Andres Saravia ninth.
Already in the race, the Brazilian driver defended very well the position and increased his gap with the rest taking advantage of the fight between several drivers for the second position to achieve more than ten seconds gap before the pit stop. On the other hand, Kodric remained third and Saravia climbed to seventh in the first laps and won two more just before the driver change with a great double overtaking braking in turn 3-4.
Thus, Hahn returned to track leading but he could not resist Albert Costa’s attack and little by little was dropping until placing sixth, just behind the group that fought for the victory. Chaves began the hunting from second place and Fran Rueda did the same from the fourth.
With ten minutes to go the Spaniard overtook Rovera for third place while Hahn defended the PROAM lead until with just three laps to the end he was overtaken by Tom Onslow-Cole and had to settle with second place in his category and seventh overall while Chaves and Rueda crossed the finish line in second and third place respectively.
In the second qualifying session Chaves repeated the result of his teammate Kodric and achieved third place with Fran Rueda fifth and Hahn as sixth PROAM.
The race started well with Chaves fighting for P2 when he received a blow from behind that made him spun in the middle of the track. Fran Rueda managed to avoid him but when braking because of another driver ahead he was collided by his teammate Marcelo Hahn, who could not avoid the contact ending both out of the race.
The damage in Chaves’ car was not serious and he was able to return to the track in last position. The team took advantage of the Safety Car to change the tyres and check the status of the car to resume the race just behind all the field and fresh tyres.
From the moment in which the race was relaunched the Portuguese flew on the French track and one by one he was overtaking all his rivals until reach the tenth position in which he left the car to Kodric, who rejoined sixteenth after 10-sec handicap because of Saturday’s podium.
With 20 minutes to go the Croatian waited for his moment and little by little he also began to recover ground to the rivals and with ten minutes left he was already fighting for the points. However, he had some potential in the McLaren and in the last five minutes Kodric advanced to the seventh position with a great reward after the complicated start.
Thus, Martin Kodric and Henrique Chaves are P4 with 16 points, Fran Rueda and Andrés Saravia are P6 with 10 and Marcelo Hahn and Allam Khodair are P10 overall and P4 in PROAM. The team is P2 in with 14 points.
Next GT Open round is scheduled for May 25-26 at Hockenheim.
ALLAM KHODAIR– “Despite the incident in race 2, I’m very happy for our start. Pole position, podium, fast car and good adaptation with the team. The championship promises“.
MARCELO HAHN– “I am disappointed by the accident that involved me in the first lap, because the goal was to be cautious to get good points for the championship. I ended up becoming a passenger on the hit among other drivers. But pleased with my adaptation and improvement with McLaren. Looking forward Hockeihein to arrive soon to return to the podium and the dispute for the leadership of the championship”.
ANDRÉS SARAVIA: “First weekend with the new car and even it was a difficult one, we know we have a long season ahead and this is just the beginning. Will come back stronger in Germany“.
FRAN RUEDA: “I’m happy with the weekend. We were always competitive and that’s very positive. We have a great comeback on Satueday and we had a good opportunity in Race 2 because we had a new tyre set for the driver change but we had an accident and then the retirement. That’s racing so it’s time to come back stronger at Hockenheim“.
HENRIQUE CHAVES: “The weekend didn’t start well but we still managed to do a very good qualifying on Saturday and a podium finish. The day on Sunday started well. We had a good setup and we could have done another good result but an accident at the start threw us to last. Luckily the car was good enough to keep us in the race and we came from P20 to P7 with an awesome job from the team and Martin“.
MARTIN KODRIC: “Overall solid first weekend, strong race 1 result, unfortunately a contact from behind at the race 2 start dropped us back to last position and costed us a better finish but we still managed to recover really well and drive up to P7 to get some points for the championship. Everything is working well and Mclaren have done a great job with the car so I am really looking forward to the next round in Germany where hopefully we will sneak our first win of the season!“.