Paul Ricard: Nissan qualifying report

PODIUM PRIDE FOR BRITISH NISSAN GT-R DUO Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes are celebrating tonight after a podium finish in today's FIA GT1 World Championship qualifying race at Paul Ricard in France. The British duo qualified the No.22...

PODIUM PRIDE FOR BRITISH NISSAN GT-R DUO

Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes are celebrating tonight after a podium finish in today's FIA GT1 World Championship qualifying race at Paul Ricard in France. The British duo qualified the No.22 Sumo Power Nissan GT-R in fifth place for today's race and put in an impressive performance, both taking fastest laps during their respective runs. The sister Sumo Power Nissan GT-R of Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck finished ninth, a disappointing result when you consider they started from third on the grid. The No.23 drivers have something left up their sleeve for tomorrow's championship race though.

The Swiss Racing Team Nissan GT-Rs were again on the pace during the race but were handicapped by their grid positions. Starting from 16th and 21st on the grid, Max Nilsson and Henri Moser had to work hard during the opening laps today. The No.4 Swiss Racing Team Nissan GT-R of Seiji Ara and Max Nilsson finished in a creditable 12th place and the No.3 car of Karl Wendlinger and Henri Moser finished in 21st after being slowed by a puncture and a stop-go penalty.

It was Campbell-Walter who started the race in the No.22 Nissan GT-R and he was on the attack right away. He kept his fifth place off the line and then set off after fellow Sumo driver, Peter Dumbreck, who had slipped to fourth.

"I managed to pass Peter (Dumbreck) on lap two," he said. "Once I was past I was a bit far back from the leading pack. I caught them up again but I had used the best of my tyres once I got there. All credit to Sumo Power and Nismo today as we had a great car. I'm really pleased to have taken third and it's a great place to be starting from tomorrow."

Warren Hughes was up next and, like his team-mate, he soon started putting in fastest laps. The highlight of his stint was when he caught and passed the Corvette of Mike Hezemans just a few minutes before the chequered flag.

"The car was very good today," added Hughes. "We worked hard to manage our tyres and this paid off as the car was mega consistent. I could see every time I came onto the straight that I was catching the guys ahead so it was good to be able to go on the attack."

The No.23 Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R started the race from third after a very strong showing in this morning's qualifying session. The team elected to save the best two sets of tyres for tomorrow's championship race so Peter Dumbreck had a tough time dealing with understeer.

"I started the race on old tyres as it is our plan to keep the good rubber for tomorrow," explained Dumbreck. "It should come good for us in tomorrow's race but we will have to fight hard from ninth position. I had a lot of understeer so I had to fight the car at every turn, which made it easy for other cars to nip through on the inside. Hopefully the next race will come good for us though."

Max Nilsson was tasked with the start for the No.4 SRT Nissan GT-R. The Swedish driver made his way up to 14th before handing over to Seiji Ara who took the chequered flag in 12th place.

"We have improved the car since qualifying and I was able to push really hard," said Ara. "I just wish we could get a better result. Our lap times were not bad but compared to the top cars our time was not good enough. We are working hard to catch the top cars and we will of course talk to our engineers now to work out the way forward. I think competing in the FIA GT1 World Championship is more enjoyable if you are running in the higher positions so we will continue to work hard and I hope we can score some points tomorrow.

Henri Moser got away well in the No.3 Swiss Racing Team Nissan GT-R and moved up from 21st to 17th during his run. He came in to hand over to Karl Wendlinger in a very smooth pit stop but unfortunately the Austrian then ran into trouble.

"A Lamborghini passed me and then braked hard so as we both turned in for the corner we touched," explained Wendlinger. "Unfortunately this gave me a puncture and I had to come in for a new tyre. I also received a stop-go penalty for causing a collision although I believe it was 50/50. It is a shame as Henri (Moser) did a good job during his run and the pit stop was very good."

The Paul Ricard championship race gets underway at 14:15hrs local time tomorrow.

-source: nissan

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Karl Wendlinger , Seiji Ara , Michael Krumm , Peter Dumbreck , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Warren Hughes , Mike Hezemans , Henri Moser , Max Nilsson
Teams Nissan Motorsport