MORE PODIUM JOY FOR THE NISSAN GT-R Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm followed up yesterday's podium finish with another third place in the main FIA GT1 World Championship race at Brno today. The first of the two Swiss Racing Nissan GT-Rs of ...
MORE PODIUM JOY FOR THE NISSAN GT-R
Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm followed up yesterday's podium finish with another third place in the main FIA GT1 World Championship race at Brno today. The first of the two Swiss Racing Nissan GT-Rs of Karl Wendlinger and Henri Moser took a solid top ten finish, ahead of the Seiji Ara/Max Nilsson car that finished in 15th position. The sister Sumo Power Nissan GT-R came home in 17th place.
The race got off to a confusing start when the pole-sitting Maserati of Andrea Bertolini went flat out over the line but the second-placed Aston Martin of Tomas Enge dropped like a stone. Michael Krumm didn't need to be asked twice and took second place going into turn one. A few laps later Bertolini was handed a stop-go penalty for going too early and Krumm sailed into the lead.
"The start was pretty confusing so I just went for it and came through in second place," said Krumm. "The car ran very well and I could easily stay with Bertolini and then when he got the penalty it gave me the lead. I tried to open up a gap so Peter (Dumbreck) would have some breathing space later in the race but the safety car came out again and the race turned into a fight in the pits."
The Safety Car had come out while a stranded Maserati and Ford GT were removed from the track. It was still out when the pit window opened, offering the teams the chance to do their driver changes while the race pace had been slowed down. All but six cars came straight into the pits, turning the pit lane into the busiest street in Brno.
"With so many cars in the pits we got wedged in behind another car so the team had to push Peter back before he could rejoin the race," continued Krumm. "It must have been a fantastic stop though as we still came out in third place. We couldn't get second back as Peter was then behind the Aston Martin driven by Darren Turner who of course knows the Nissan GT-R inside out from last year!"
As Michael said, Peter had a huge job on his hands to try and overhaul the race-leading Ford GT of Thomas Mutsch and the Aston Martin. The three cars ran nose-to-tail throughout the second half of the race and were so well-matched there was never more than a second between all three of them. Peter tried a few moves but it was impossible to get by and he took the chequered flag in third place.
"That was hard work today," said Dumbreck. "The two guys ahead didn't make a single mistake. Turn three was probably the only place I could've gone for a pass but every time I tried Darren's radar went off and he guarded the inside. It's a bit frustrating to finish third after having the lead but if you had said to us before the weekend that we were going to take third here we would've been very happy. Two podiums is a great result and it's something we can really build on."
The result for the sister Sumo Power car of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes was in complete contrast to their win at Silverstone a few weeks ago. Hughes started the race today from 21st place and suffered contact on the first lap that forced him to pit twice, ruining any chance of points scoring today.
"This was a promising weekend that failed to deliver," commented Hughes. "We had lots of problems, one after the other. We had a wheel-bearing problem in qualifying, which put us on the back foot for race one. We then had the brake problem in race one, which put us on the back foot for today. It's no good running at the back as that is where accidents happen, as they did this afternoon. Again, we had fantastic race pace so we just need to have less problems and we will be okay. One upside is that we have now lost the success ballast so we can go on maximum attack at Paul Ricard."
Over in the Swiss Racing Team garage the signs are improving as the team continues to make progress.
"We are still making steady progress," said Wendlinger after the race. "Before the first safety car I could stay on the pace of the Maseratis and Aston Martin in front of me and then after the safety car I had a good battle with a Ford GT so our race pace is definitely improving. The pit window opening during the safety car period turned it into a bit of a lottery and unfortunately we lost a few places as we were jammed in behind a Corvette in the pit lane. We need to carefully analyse our position now and then go testing before we race at Le Castellet. At least now we have a little time to do this."
"We now have the race pace we have worked so hard to find," added Swiss Racing Team Principal, Othmar Welti. "The Silverstone accident really put us on the back foot so it was good just to be here this weekend. We are having to do all our homework at the events and we need to get on top of qualifying but we feel we are now on the right track. The next six weeks will give us the time to do what we need to do. The first job though is to give the mechanics some time off as they have only had one day off since Abu Dhabi! It has been a tough start for us. This is a hard World Championship but we have some breathing space now and we will bounce back."
The next round of the FIA GT1 World Championship takes place at Paul Ricard in southern France in six weeks' time.