3rd July 2010
Paul Ricard HTTT Circuit, Le Castellet, France.
FIA GT1 World Championship Round 4
Qualifying and Qualifying Race report
For the fourth time in succession, the Sumo Power GT team achieved a top-three position in an FIA GT1 World Championship race, when Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes – driving car no. 22 – finished an impressive third in today’s Qualifying race, the first of two taking place at this weekend’s round four at Paul Richard HTTT (High Tech Test Track).
Team mates Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm in car 23 were the quicker of the team’s two Nissan GT-Rs in the testing and qualifying sessions, but were slowed in the race when its tyres were affected by excessive wear. However, they fought back to score a hard-earned ninth place and hope that saving their new tyres until tomorrow’s main race will provide them with an advantage.
Qualifying for the FIA GT1 World Championship took place this morning and was split into three sessions, with the fastest 16 going through to the second, then the fastest eight going through to the third and final session. Both Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-Rs ran superbly to make it into the final eight and with Krumm setting the fastest lap in Q1, he and Dumbreck went on to qualify third and Hughes/Campbell-Walter fifth.
In the race, Dumbreck was first to drive in car 23, with Campbell-Walter in car 22 and, as the field streamed in to the first corner, Dumbreck found himself pushed back a place to fourth, quickly realising that his car was not handling as it should. He was hotly pursued by Campbell-Walter who squeezed by and into fourth at the end of the second lap.
Much to Dumbreck’s frustration, his handling issues became worse and on almost every lap he was passed by one of the chasing pack, it soon becoming obvious that the Sumo Power GT driver was powerless to do anything about the loss of grip.
The problem was later found to be the rapid degradation of the tyres in the hot conditions, as with only four sets allowed throughout the weekend, his team opted for previously used rubber to be able to run new tyres for the main race on Sunday.
Dumbreck’s journey down the field meant that he became involved in a few less than courteous overtaking manoeuvres by his fellow competitors, but luckily the damage to his Nissan was only slight. Meanwhile, Campbell-Walter set about catching the leading trio of cars, which he did and, by lap eight, was right behind the third-placed Lamborghini of Peter Kox/Christopher Haase, which he eventually overtook on lap 12.
Dumbreck was only too pleased when the pit-stop window opened after 25-minutes and, whilst in 12th place, went in to have a much needed set of tyres fitted and swap with Krumm. Car 22 pitted on lap 14 and, after a sub-30-second pit stop, Hughes realised the ignition master switch was off as he tried to re-start the engine and, loosing a few seconds in the process, rejoined the race in fourth.
With fresh drivers and tyres, both Sumo Power GT Nissans set a blistering pace in the second half of the race, Krumm doing all he could to recover the earlier lost time and Hughes going on to set the fastest lap on lap 19.
Krumm had battled his way up to ninth by lap 20, whilst Hughes was now on a mission to regain third. Then, with a masterly move on lap 25, he drove round the outside of the Corvette of Mike Hezemans/Xavier Maassen and pulled away during the remaining two laps to score the Sumo Power GT team’s fourth podium finish in as many races.
The race was won by Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini in a Maserati, with Kox/Haase in second.
Adding to the success of the day for the Sumo Power GT team, Hughes and Campbell-Walter were later presented with their first-place awards for winning round two at Silverstone in May. This was after the results were overturned when penalties were applied to the two cars that finished ahead of them.
The team now prepares for this weekend’s main Championship race which takes place at 14.45 on Sunday, when Hughes/Campbell-Walter will start third and Krumm/Dumbreck start ninth on the grid and hoping that, with a better selection of tyres to chose from, their race fortunes will improve dramatically.
Jamie Campbell-Walter – Driver Car 22
“After getting past Peter (Dumbreck), I then drove as hard as I could to close the gap on the leaders whilst trying to manage tyre wear. However, I believe we had a really good set up for the conditions and, having started from fifth, it’s great to have finished third, especially as this gives us P3 on the grid for tomorrow’s main race.”
Warren Hughes – Driver Car 22
“Today was all about tyre management and the work we did before the race with set ups really paid off. The car was very strong and performed consistently and I was delighted that we were on the race-pace today, so we are in a great position for tomorrow.”
Peter Dumbreck – Driver Car 23
“I knew I was starting with a used set of tyres, but I had no idea they would deteriorate as quickly as they did. I thought they would reach a point and stay the same, but they just seemed to get worse lap-by-lap. It was very frustrating. I just hope that we will have the advantage when we use the new tyres in tomorrow’s race.”
Michael Krumm – Driver Car 23
“I really don’t know why we were so quick in practice and qualifying and then slower today. At first I thought something had broken, but it appears that it was the degradation of the tyres. I’m therefore pleased that we will be running on good sets tomorrow.”
Allen Orchard – Team Manager
“Another podium. Fantastic! Both cars have performed well this weekend: Car 23 in qualifying and car 22 in the race. I’m hoping that things will balance out tomorrow and car 23 will again have its day too.”
James Rumsey – Team Principal
“Third is a great result and to set the fastest lap of the race as well shows that our cars are right on the pace. I am therefore hoping that tomorrow we can achieve our goal of getting both cars at the front of the field.”