Having been pleased with the performance of its two Nissan GT-Rs in Friday’s practice sessions – in conditions that were either dry, wet or very wet – the team were optimistic about their chances for the qualifying session followed by the first of the weekend’s two hour-long races. But, with thetrack still damp from the overnight rain, grip was intermittent and therefore, getting tyres up to the optimum temperature was the major factor in posting a good time.
28th August 2010
FIA GT1 World Championship – Qualifying and race one report
Nürburgring – 28 & 29 August 2010
With car 22 finishing 16th and car 23 retiring on lap one following a first corner incident, the outcome of the today’s race at Nürburgring was not the one the Sumo Power GT team had hoped for.
Car 23 achieved this, with Michael Krumm setting fourth fastest time and lining up Peter Dumbreck for Q2. In contrast, Warrren Hughes in car 22 was unable to get a clear lap with tyres at the right temperature and ended Q1 in 19th place. A similar fate then befe
ll Dumbreck and he missed a slot in Q3 by just 0.09 second, ending the session in ninth place.
This afternoon’s race began in dry conditions and, without an opportunity to take part in qualifying, Jamie Campbell-Walter started in car 22 having only driven in wet conditions. Dumbreck started in car 23 and, as the 23-strong field headed towards the first corner, he was pushed towards the inside of the track and had to take to the pit lane exit and then the grass to avoid a collision.
Having made up five places in the process, he then squeezed his way back onto the tarmac only to find the cars in front breaking heavily for turn one. But, with the pack all around him, he found he had nowhere to go other than into the back of Darren Turner’s Aston Martin. This sent the Nissan into a spin and, sat in the middle of the track, Dumbreck’s car was then hit by another Aston Martin.
After nursing it back to the pits, the team decided to withdraw car 23 from the race, although it was later found that fortunately, most of the damage was only cosemetic and confined to the bodywork, nothing mechanical.
In the meantime, Campbell-Walter was getting down to business and, within two laps had fought his way up to 13th place. He then closed on the Maserati of Alex Müller and for the remainder of his stint, trying everything he could to get past. But with Müller being extremely defensive, Campbell-Walter reported it would have been impossible to overtake without causing an accident.
After coming in for the compulsory pit stop to change drivers and tyres, Hughes joined the race in 11th place and set about getting into the top ten. But then, as it had done many times during the weekend, the weather changed and on lap 17 rain started to fall.
Initially Hughes found the Nissan behaved reasonably well on slicks and
therefore, as others pitted to swap onto wet-pattern tyres, he moved up the leader-board to sixth. As quickly as it came, the rain then stopped and, having started in 19th place, with nothing to lose the team opted to keep Hughes out on his dry-weather tyres.
Whilst this could have been the right decision at the time, as it transpired, the water on the track surface did not drain away and, for the rest of the race, Hughes drove superbly to keep the car on the track. However, with others making the most of their wet-weather tyres, the Nissan driver was relieved to cross the line in 16th place. The race was eventually won by Darren Turner and Tomas Enge in their Aston Martin.
The team members gave their afterthoughts on the days proceedings.
Peter Dumbreck – Driver Car 23
“I had a good start and got alongside the cars head of me, only to be pushed off the track. Therefore, when I rejoined there were cars all around me braking hard for the first corner and I just couldn’t slow down quick enough. It’s a great shame as I think we would have had a chance of a top three place.”
Michael Krumm – Driver Car 23
“There’s nothing worse for a driver than not being able to drive, so it’s disappointing for me and the team that we didn’t get very far. But this was a racing incident and all we can do now is look forward to tomorrow’s main race.”
Jamie Campbell-Walter – Driver Car 22
“Although I hadn’t driven the car in the dry before the race, it felt good straight away and I was easily able to catch cars ahead of me. But the Maserati would not let me past and I’m not very happy with the way I was stopped from overtaking. So of the moves were far too aggressive.”
Warren Hughes – Driver Car 22
“Wow. That was tricky – staying on slicks in the rain – but although we had very little grip the car felt controllable so it was worth a try. It would have been interesting to know if we could have finished higher having changed onto wet tyres, but at least we start in a higher position tomorrow than we did today.”
Nigel Stepney – New Team Manager
“Jamie and Warren did the best they could given the grid position and the decision to keep going on slicks. It was worth a gamble, but with the track not drying out did not work as we’d hoped. As far as car 23 is concerned, in racing as competitive as it is in this championship, a first corner incident is always a possibility. It’s just a shame that we were involved. At least we have saved our tyres for tomorrow’s main race! ”
James Rumsey – Team Principal
“It wasn’t the day we were hoping for, but all of the drivers have reported that without problems the cars are capable of getting closer to the front. However, to do that tomorrow it’s going to be a case of fighting our way through, which we’ve done before. It will be an interesting race, that’s for sure.”