Jerez (Spain): India`s Aditya Patel, along with Portuguese teammate Cesar Campanico, won the opening race in the GTS (GT3) category and finished second overall in the third round of the International GT Open Series here.
Driving for Team Novadriver, the duo aced faster Super GT cars after Campanico put in a spectacular qualifying lap to secure pole position overall, thus giving themselves an edge over the second GT3 car that was starting fifth in Saturday`s race.
Campanico started the race for the team and lost a place to the Ferrari of Daniel Zampieri going into the first corner, although he held on to second place on the grid while continuing to lead the GT3 class for the rest of the drive.
Chennai-based Patel, 25, drove aggressively after taking over at the halfway mark, and despite losing nearly 15 seconds in a pitlane miscommunication he pushed the Audi R8 LMS Ultra hard, to close in on Roman Mavlanov and Zampieri but there wasn`t sufficient time to get past the duo and he had to settle for second place overall.
This, however, meant they had won the GT3 category and Patel thus became the first Indian to win a GT3 race.
"It feels pretty nice to finally win a GT3 race after all the effort we`ve been putting in since the season began," said Patel.
"Again, Cesar did a fantastic job by fighting up in front during his stint. The pitstop incident was unfortunate. We were very close to winning overall and that would have really been great for us and the team," he added.