This weekend sees the Sumo Power GT team head to the south of France for the fourth round of the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship at the Paul Ricard circuit near Le Castellet on the Riviera. It will again field its two Nissan GT-Rs driven by Michael Krumm/Peter Dumbreck in car number 23 and Warren Hughes/Jamie Campbell-Walter in car number 22.
Following a win in round two at Silverstone, round three at Brno in the Czech Republic saw car 22 carry 40 kilos of success ballast. Even so, Hughes and Campbell-Walter were still able to set competitive lap times and would have secured a top-ten finish if debris from the track had not ruptured a brake-line in the first of the two races.
However, there were no such issues for car 23 and, having led during the first half of the Brno race, the team were delighted to see Krumm and Dumbreck claim an excellent third-place finish. This result put the score at two podiums out of three race meetings so far this season – not bad for a team that was only formed in February!
With Sumo Power GT currently fifth in Team’s Championship, plus Hughes/Campbell Walter seventh and Krumm/Dumbreck ninth in the Driver’s standings, a good haul of points is an important factor this weekend. Therefore, the goal for the East Sussex-based operation is to see both of its Nissan GT-Rs at the front of the 24-car field, even with the 20 kilos of success ballast carried by car 23 following its round three result, whereas car 22 will have none this time around.
To help prepare for Paul Ricard, the team tested last week at Snetterton, where a range of different set-ups were tried. Both cars ran well and, with hot and dry weather prevailing throughout the test, the team was pleased that track conditions were likely to replicate those found in the south of France.
Adding to the team’s pre-race build-up, both of its Nissan GT-Rs went to Brands Hatch on Sunday, where Hughes and Campbell-Walter drove a series of demonstration laps around the ‘Indy’ circuit during a meeting for the popular Time Attack series.
Built in 1969 by the drinks magnate who bears the same name, the character of the 3.8 kilometre Paul Ricard track differs greatly to that of the undulating nature of Brno. Although having attended a group test with the FIA GT1 World Championship there earlier this season, the move to another style of circuit will provide yet more challenges to all of the teams.
This weekend’s timetable sees the GT1 cars first take to the track on Friday at 09.50 for Free Practice, followed by Pre-Qualifying at 15.00. Qualifying takes place on Saturday at 10.45 with the first race scheduled at 17.30 and the main Championship race at 15.45 on Sunday.
Michael Krumm – Driver Car 23
“We tried lots of different set-ups in last week’s test, so I’m pleased that we have a number of options we can use at Paul Ricard. As I live in Monaco, for me this is a local track. I’ve tested but never raced there, so I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”
Peter Dumbreck – Driver Car 23
“As well as doing the FIA GT1 World Championship test earlier this season, I raced at Paul Ricard in April, so I’ve done a few laps there already. I think we stand a good chance of running at the front, but you need that little bit extra to win and it’s difficult to say if this circuit will favour us or not until we get there. However, it’s points that count for the championship and therefore a good finish is important.”
Warren Hughes – Driver Car 22
“I’m pleased we’ve lost the success ballast for this race, but obviously not pleased this was because we didn’t get the result we were looking for – and capable of – at Brno. We’ve been on the pace at different types of track so far this season and, with Paul Ricard being different again, it will be interesting to see if we can maintain our level of performance.”
Jamie Campbell-Walter – Driver Car 22
“When you consider we were carrying 40 kilos of ballast at Brno, the car still performed really well and we set lap times not far off the pace of the leaders. I think there are parts of Paul Ricard that will suit our car more than others. However, if we can find that ‘sweet-spot’ with the set-up, then I’m confident we can be back challenging for the top places.”
Allen Orchard – Team Manager
“Having scored two podium finishes already this season we are obviously delighted with the way things have gone. However, you can’t stand still and we carried out a lot of work during our recent test and learnt even more about the cars. We now need to put that additional knowledge into practice this weekend, as it’s difficult to say how well our cars will be suited to the Paul Ricard track.”
James Rumsey – Team Principal
“Now we have the momentum to run at the front, the team are working really hard to make sure we stay there. It would be great to see both – rather than just one – of our cars challenging for the leading positions and that will be our target this weekend. We are currently a close fifth in the Team’s Championship standings and it would be great to improve on that.”