Navarra: Sumo Power GT Sunday report

Third place for Sumo Power GT in Navarra A great drive by Warren Hughes and Jamie Campbell-Walter in their Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R during today's main Championship Race - round eight of the FIA GT1 World Championship - resulted in an...

Third place for Sumo Power GT in Navarra

A great drive by Warren Hughes and Jamie Campbell-Walter in their Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R during today's main Championship Race - round eight of the FIA GT1 World Championship - resulted in an impressive third place and the team's seventh podium finish of the season.

For team-mates Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm, the bad luck from yesterday's Qualifying sessions and the morning's Qualifying Race continued into the Championship Race. Having climbed from 16th on the grid to ninth in only the first few corners, their car was involved in an incident on the first lap, the impact causing a puncture, damage to the power steering and consequent retirement after six laps.

Having analysed the nature of the track before race weekend, the team were uncertain if its two Nissans would suit the circuit's slow corners and twisty configuration. However, in Saturday morning's Free Practice, they were pleased to see Hughes and Campbell-Walter ending the session third fastest. For Krumm and Dumbreck, who were circulating on a much older set of tyres, their 14th-fastest time was also regarded as respectable.

Qualifying on Saturday afternoon went well for Hughes and Campbell-Walter, the car 22 pairing getting through to Q3 and claiming seventh on the grid. However, Dumbreck in car 23 found himself struggling for grip in Q1 and missed going through to Q2 by less than two-tenths of a second, meaning he ended the session 17th.

Qualifying Race

After finding an issue with car 23's set up overnight, the team were upbeat about the prospect of Sunday morning's Qualifying Race. For car 22, the strategy was to keep out of trouble and, at the very least, maintain position for the afternoon's main Championship race where the largest haul of points are scored.

However, a frantic start with all cars bunching together meant that it was difficult to avoid contact and a tap from behind during the opening lap was enough for Hughes to opt for a cautious approach, dropping to eighth rather than risk an accident. Krumm, in car 23, was also in the thick of it and he too was punted from behind. The force of the impact pushed his Nissan into the car ahead, damaging its left-front-corner bodywork, but thankfully nothing else. Even after the incident, Krumm continued his charge and, after two laps, had climbed six place to 11th.

Hughes reclaimed seventh on lap seven and then, with others ahead of him having mechanical problems or drive-through penalties applied, he moved into sixth on lap 13. Krumm also benefitted from the issues experienced by others and continued on his overtaking mission, climbing to ninth on lap 10. Then, two laps later, as he exited a bend on full power, the car ahead missed a gear and, by taking evasive action, he put his Nissan into a spin and consequently lost two places.

Hughes was first of the two Sumo Power GT drivers to pit, swapping with Campbell-Walter on lap 16. Two laps later Krumm, who had fought back to eighth place, then came into the pits, where Dumbreck took the wheel.

Both cars maintained position after their sub-30-second stops, but with the field now strung-out, catching and passing was not quite so easy during the second half of the race. However, that didn't stop Campbell-Walter hunting down the Maserati ahead of him and, on lap 29, he went past and into fifth.

Dumbreck was also now involved in a battle, but could feel his tyres loosing grip lap-by-lap and, as the end of the race drew closer, he found himself fending off the advances of the Aston Martin and Lamborghini behind him - although it looked as though his defensive driving would allow him to hold onto eighth.

But then, with just one lap to go, his car's engine suddenly stopped and he had no choice but to pull off the track and retire, the problem later found to be fuel starvation. A frustrating end to an impressive drive by him and Krumm, who were classified 16th in the results. The race was won by Ricardo Zonta and Frank Kechele in a Lamborghini.

Championship Race

A storming start by Campbell-Walter rocketed him past three cars and into second place by the time cars turned right into the first corner - and he even challenged Zonta for the lead. For Dumbreck in car 23, the first lap was a more stressful affair, as chaos ensued in the middle of the pack.

Trying as hard as he could to keep out of trouble, Dumbreck managed to pick his was through the field and up to ninth until a car spun in front of him as he exited a corner on full power and, having nowhere to go, ran into the back of it. At first it appeared that the damage was just cosmetic but, as he continued, the car's handling started to feel strange and he pulled into the pits with a slowly deflating left-front tyre after lap six.

After changing the wheel, he carried on for another lap, but when it became clear that the power steering had been damaged in the incident and he returned to the pits for the last time. Following their excellent performance in Algarve, this was not the outcome that the two car 23 drivers and the team had anticipated.

In the mean time, Campbell-Walter had a few of his own issues to contend with, when light-rain started falling on parts of the circuit. As the car began to break traction, he decided to play it safe and, in doing so, two cars went past. However, Campbell-Walter was un-fazed, as he knew by the way his Nissan was handling he could make up for lost time as soon as the track dried out - and that's exactly what he did and on lap nine, reclaiming third place.

Hughes took over at the mandatory pit stop on lap 16 and carried on from where his team-mate had left off. As the race went on he started to catch the second-placed Aston Martin ahead of him but, at the same time, had to be careful not to succumb to the similar car that was now closing on him.

100% focussed during the closing stages, Hughes crossed the line to take an excellent third place and the team's seventh podium finish of the season, the result also consolidating Sumo Power GT's third place in the Teams' Championship standings.

The winners for the second time today were Zonta and Kechele.

As the two Sumo Power GT Nissans were packed into containers for their trip to South America, the team's thoughts now turn to the final two races in the FIA GT1 World Championship calendar: round nine at Interlagos in Brazil on 26-28 November and round ten at San Luis in Argentina on 3-5 December.

Team quotes

Jamie Campbell-Walter - Driver Car 22
"Third in the main race is a fantastic result for us. It's good to be at the front again as it's a while since we've been on the podium. The car was fantastic all weekend and the team has done a great job too."

Warren Hughes - Driver Car 22
"Considering we didn't think our cars would be so competitive at this circuit, qualifying and both races have gone really well for us. Once car 23 went out in the main race, the pressure was on to get a good result, so it meant 100% concentration the whole time and I'm very pleased to come away with third."

Peter Dumbreck - Driver Car 23
"What a contrast after the Algarve! Luck just wasn't with us this weekend. By being in the middle of the pack we became involved with other people's problems in the main race - and that's what put us out. There were no issues with the car's pace today, we proved that by the number of places we made up, so I hope the tables will turn when we get to South America,"

Michael Krumm - Driver Car 23
"The first race went well; better than expected, as we had made it all the way up to eighth from 17th. Because the car stopped one lap from the end, we had to do it all over again in race two. After making a great start, Peter was unlucky. We were both disappointed about the first lap incident, but now we must look forward and therefore, hope to finish the season off with good results in Brazil and Argentina."

Nigel Stepney - Team Manager
"Before we came to Navarra, we didn't think we would achieve a top three result. Therefore, it shows that our test earlier in the week paid dividends, as we were able to set-up the cars for a circuit like this. Although it was a disappointing weekend for car 23, both cars showed good pace in today's races and it's good to have come away from this event with another podium finish."

James Rumsey - Team Principal
"Jamie and Warren did a great job to score another podium for the team and to consolidate our position in the Teams' Championship. I'm sorry Michael and Peter didn't get a better run today. It just goes to show how important it is to have a good result in qualifying and not get involved in the mid-field incidents. I therefore hope we can achieve our target to get both cars at the front of the field in the last two rounds of the season."

-source: sumo power gt

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Michael Krumm , Peter Dumbreck , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Warren Hughes , Frank Kechele
Teams Nissan Motorsport