Sumo has the power!
- FIA GT1 World Championship Round 4 Championship race -
July 4th, Paul Ricard (France)
The No.23 Sumo Power GT NISSAN GT-R took its best result of the season so far with a fantastic run to second place in the searing heat of Paul Ricard today. Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck saved their best tyres for today's race and were rewarded with second place and a big haul of championship points. The No.22 NISSAN GT-R also took points today with an eighth place finish; Jamie Campbell-Walter producing some great TV moments with his crowd-thrilling run from 18th to eighth.
This result moves the Sumo Power GT team up to second place in the Team's Championship after four events. All of this action happened under the watchful eyes of Shoichi Miyatani, the President of Nismo, who was visiting his first FIA GT1 World Championship event.
“It was a great pleasure for me to see the NISSAN GT-Rs running so competitively at a World Championship event,” he said. “It has been good to see the work that both teams have been doing. I can see that they are all putting in 100% effort, helping us to make our GT1 programme such a success.”
The Swiss Racing Team NISSAN GT-Rs struggled again with Seiji Ara retiring with transmission troubles and Karl Wendlinger having the same used tyre woes that Peter Dumbreck suffered with yesterday. He and Henri Moser recovered to a 15th place finish after starting from 21st on the grid.
Michael Krumm started the race in the No.23 NISSAN GT-R from ninth place. He knew his priority today was to stay out of trouble in the opening laps, which is usually where all the drama happens. His brilliant drive saw him hussle his way up to third place as the pit stops began.
“We knew that yesterday was going to be tough but we didn't think it would be that tough,” commented Krumm. “It is risky to start the race from ninth and sure enough there was a lot of hitting and diving going on.
I had to protect the car and bring it back undamaged for Peter. The car felt fantastic and I managed to not get involved in any of the crazy stuff. I'm very pleased to get this result for Nissan and the Sumo Power team.”
After struggling on old tyres in yesterday's race, Dumbreck was hoping for a good run on new tyres today.
“We took the hit yesterday with the tyres but it paid off this afternoon,” he explained. “I felt like a racing driver again today! I know I caused a bottleneck yesterday and I was thankful not to get run off the track. Today was a very different story though. It's a great result for the team.”
Warren Hughes started the race from third in the No.22 NISSAN GT-R. The British driver was on a charge from the word go and moved up to second before he had even got to turn one. Unfortunately he was later adjudged to have gone too far beyond the track limits, i.e. over the white line, and received a drive through penalty for his efforts. This put him to the back of the pack but he was straight back on the pace and worked hard to get up to 18th before handing over to Campbell-Walter.
Campbell-Walter clearly had the bit between his teeth this afternoon. He needed to get into the top ten to score any points so that was his target. With 20 minutes of the race remaining Dumbreck was busy passing one of the Ford GTs for third place and Campbell-Walter had battled his way though to 12th. He then gained another place to 11th and engaged in a scrap with a Lamborghini and an Aston Martin. He passed the Lamborghini, which then retook the position, triggering an almighty battle between the two cars.
The outcome of the battle was decided when the NISSAN GT-R, the Lamborghini and the Aston Martin ahead of them went into turn one three-abreast.
“I braked a couple of metres later than normal and went for it,” said Campbell-Walter. “It was great to make the move stick and pass both cars in one go for ninth place. I then got onto the radio to find out how far ahead the next car was. I was advised that it was a sizable gap and that the race only had a few minutes left to run. I'm not one for giving up so I decided to go for it and took the eighth placed Aston Martin with three corners to go! I think we could've been on for fifth place today but the drive-through finished it for us. I want to say huge congratulations to the team as both of the pit stops were fantastic today. Keep up the good work!”
Seiji Ara started well in the No.4 Swiss Racing Team NISSAN GT-R. He was going great guns, moving up to eighth place from 12th on the grid, when after eight laps he suddenly dropped right down to 19th.
“I lost fourth gear,” he said. “After I went through the first chicane there was a big noise and I no longer had fourth gear and lost a lot of places. I tried to continue but it took me right off the pace and we decided to retire to avoid any more damage to the gearbox. It's a real shame as our race was going really well. I will keep on trying!”
Karl Wendlinger had a very tough race as he had to run on old tyres. His team-mate Henri Moser had a better time of it, proving that having fresh rubber in reserve was the secret to success this weekend.
“I had the new tyres today so I had a great run,” said Moser. “We have learned this weekend that in hot weather like this we have to preserve our tyres and maybe run less in the practice sessions. The car felt good today and I was able to run consistently. The set-up is definitely better and I was only four-tenths off the No.22 car, which is our benchmark. We are making progress and look forward to Spa.”
Both NISSAN GT-R teams will head to Spa this week for the test day on Thursday. After that the Sumo Power GT No.22 NISSAN GT-R is off to Le Mans where it will lead off a parade of NISSAN GT-Rs around the world-famous Le Mans circuit on Friday evening. The team will stay for the full Le Mans Classic race meeting, taking part in five further parades during the weekend.
||Bertolini / Bartels
||Krumm / Dumbreck
||Heger / Margaritis
||Leinders / Martin
||Piccini / Hennerici
||Hezemans / Maassen
||Grosjean / Mutsch
||Ford GT Matech
||Hughes / Campbell-Walter
||Makowiecki / Accary
||Aston Martin DB9
||Zonta / Daniel
||Lamborghini Murciélago R-SV
||Wendlinger / Moser
||Ara / Nilsson