NISSAN GT-Rs MOVE UP THE ORDER AT SILVERSTONE The two Sumo Power Nissan GT-Rs finished today's qualifying race for the FIA GT1 World Championship round at Silverstone comfortably inside the top eight, signalling a big performance improvement for...
NISSAN GT-Rs MOVE UP THE ORDER AT SILVERSTONE
The two Sumo Power Nissan GT-Rs finished today's qualifying race for the FIA GT1 World Championship round at Silverstone comfortably inside the top eight, signalling a big performance improvement for the British team. It was a bittersweet day for the Swiss Racing Team though who struggled for pace in the qualifying session this morning.
Today was the first time the FIA GT1 competitors completed the full F1-style qualifying session, as this was foreshortened in Abu Dhabi after an accident for one of the Ford GTs. In the new championship, the hour-long qualifying session is split into three sections. 'Q1' sees all the cars on track, driven by the nominated first driver. The track stays live for 20 minutes and at the end of that time the slowest eight cars are allocated the last eight places on the grid. The same happens in 'Q2' which sees the second driver take to the track for 15 minutes and then the fastest eight cars go into a 10-minute flat out fight for the top eight grid positions.
The 'Battle of the Brands' kicked off in the final part of today's qualifying session. With both Swiss Racing Team Nissan GT-Rs knocked out, it was down to the two Sumo Power Nissan GT-Rs to represent Nissan in the final shootout against three Aston Martins, two Lamborghinis and a Maserati. Michael Krumm and Warren Hughes both drove well and secured third and fifth places on the grid for the qualifying race.
All four Nissan GT-Rs got away well at the start of this afternoon's hour-long race. Peter Dumbreck, in the No.23 Sumo Power Nissan GT-R was right up behind the pole-sitting Aston Martin as the cars came over the line to take the rolling start.
"Initially I had a good getaway as I was right behind Enge," said Dumbreck. "Makowiecki came over though so I had to give him space to avoid contact and this let Bartels have a run up the outside and pass me. I got a really good run on him along the Hangar Straight but just couldn't get through. We were very evenly matched but it was impossible to make a clean pass and I wanted to have a risk-free race to make sure we were set up for tomorrow's championship race."
The first part of the race saw Dumbreck chasing Bartels' Maserati hard, closely followed by Jamie Campbell-Walter in the No.22 Nissan GT-R. The two Swiss Racing Team Nissan GT-Rs were making steady progress, moving up a few places each with Henri Moser and Max Nilsson on driving duty for the first stint.
Dumbreck pitted at the halfway point of the race but unfortunately crossed the white line on his way into the pits - as did a few drivers - earning a drive through penalty for No.23.
"It was my mistake to cross the line," said Dumbreck. "I did what I always do here but this weekend it's wrong. It won't happen again though, that's for sure."
With 20 minutes of the race remaining and all the pit stops completed and penalties served Warren Hughes was running strongly in sixth place, Krumm was 10th, with Wendlinger and Ara in 14th and 16th.
Krumm made a great move on the no.13 Corvette for ninth place, whilst Hughes battled with Darren Turner in the Aston Martin. There was some good racing in the closing minutes of the race with Michael Krumm providing much of the entertainment. He made light work of Peter Kox's Lamborghini and set off after Mike Hezeman's Corvette, practically having a drag race with the Dutchman over the line.
The final order gave fifth place to Warren Hughes in the No.22 Nissan GT-R and eighth place to Michael Krumm in No.23. The two Swiss Racing team cars finished the race in 14th and 15th places in the hands of Seiji Ara and Karl Wendlinger.
"We have made an improvement since qualifying this morning," said Wendlinger. "The car is more consistent over the distance and we have some more changes to make for tomorrow's race to help stability. We are still learning the car and it is clear to see that we only did a small amount of testing before the season began. We still have much to learn."
Warren Hughes was delighted that he and Jamie Campbell-Walter took the top spot for the Nissan GT-Rs with their fifth place finish.
"I was surprised at the consistency of the tyres during my stint," he said. "We could see that Jamie was struggling towards the end of his run so we made a small adjustment during the pit stop and, along with the lighter fuel load, it meant I could put in good times every lap. I thing we've made massive progress and we've got much closer to the sweet spot of the car. Both Sumo cars have good pace now. We're in a good position for tomorrow's race so hopefully we can go out there and get our first points.