Sumo Power GT team exceeds target at Silverstone
The Sumo Power GT team came away from the first of two races in round two of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Silverstone, delighted that it had achieved its goal of bringing both its Nissan GT-Rs home in the top ten: Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes in car number 22 finishing fifth and Peter Dumbreck/Michael Krumm crossing the line in a very close eighth place.
After getting back to the UK following the delayed return from round one in Abu Dhabi – due to the infamous volcanic ash cloud – the team has worked almost non-stop to prepare the cars in readiness for this weekend’s round two at Silverstone – especially as it is the only round of this global series in Britain and Sumo Power GT is the only UK-based team.
Things started well for the team even before they arrived at the track, with the FIA allowing the ballast that was added to the Nissan GT-Rs to be removed and consequently, both cars were running 50 kilos lighter than they did for the Yas Marina races two weeks ago.
The team used this Friday’s practice and pre-qualifying sessions to try different suspension set-ups and, although not completely happy with the way the cars were cornering around the new configuration of Silverstone’s Grand Prix circuit, the team were positive that a great deal of progress had been made since round one.
With the fastest 16 of the 23 cars in qualifying session one going through to compete in session two and then the fastest eight going on to contest the third, the team were delighted when both of its Nissan GT-Rs not only made it to final session, but had qualified in third and fifth positions – Dumbreck/Krumm just under a second ahead of Campbell-Walter/Hughes. And, after such an impressive performance, the whole team was excited about the race and the prospect of running at the front of the field.
Both cars started well, although Dumbreck – who was first out in car 23 – opted to steer clear of an incident when a car pushed past to snatch third and, although Dumbreck didn’t lose any ground over the following laps, he didn’t quite have the pace to re-take the place.
This meant that the two Sumo Power GT cars were running fourth and fifth, with positions maintained until lap eight, when Campbell-Walter in car 22 felt his car’s tyres starting to lose grip and he dropped to sixth place. He was therefore the first to stop for new tyres and a change of drivers, Hughes then taking over and re-joining the race in seventh place.
However, two laps later Hughes moved up to sixth, when a string of cars were re-called the pits for a drive-through penalty for cutting across the white entry line when coming in for the mandatory stop, One such driver was Dumbreck, which meant that no sooner had Krumm began his stint behind the wheel he was back into the pits. Returning to the race in tenth place he set about making up for lost time and, on lap 22, moved up to ninth. Then on lap 24 Krumm gained another place and very soon was reeling in the car ahead, finally catching it on the 30th and final lap.
Trying to get past the slowing Corvette, he found that every move was blocked and, even getting alongside in the final corner, a sprint to the line saw him just miss out on seventh place by just one-tenth of a second. Further ahead, Hughes was going strong and made up another place on lap 28, crossing the line in 5th place after a consistent drive.
For the team, getting both of it’s cars home in the top ten was a hugely satisfying result, as it’s target before the race was to get at least one car into the final qualifying session and then to achieve a top-ten finish for both, a result that it had surpassed.
Sunday sees the FIA GT1 World Championship cars first take to the track at 9.30am for a warm up session, with the main Championship Race, when grid positions for are based on the finishing positions of today’s qualifying race, scheduled for 3.15pm.
Peter Dumbreck – Driver car 23
“The race started well and I was very pleased I could keep on the pace of the Masterati ahead of me. However, cutting across the line on the pit lane entry was a silly mistake and the first time it’s ever happened to me. I can only think that something has changed since the last time I raced here.”
Michael Krumm – Driver car 23
“Of course, having to start my stint with a drive-through the pits was not ideal, but when I got back on the circuit and realised I was still in the top ten, I decided to chase down the cars ahead of me. It’s always good to overtake – and the last lap was exciting – but I think a top four place would certainly have been possible if we didn’t have the penalty.”
Jamie Campbell-Walter – Driver car 22
‘The car felt really good at the start and I was delighted we could hold our position on the opening laps. They tyres started to go-off as I got closer to the pit stop so I had to back-off a bit, but it was great to be fighting for a top-five result.”
Warren Hughes – Driver car 22
“I was really pleased by the consistency of our pace today, both in qualifying and the race. The reduction in weight has in no doubt helped, but I also feel that we are getting close to finding the car’s ‘sweet-spot’ and I’m really encouraged by the result.”
Allen Orchard – Team Manager
“In qualifying we achieved our target of getting into the final session and finishing in the top ten – by a considerable margin too. It is interesting to see different cars running at the front of the field and to hear that other teams also had issues with tyre wear. I therefore believe that today’s performance is a reflection on the team’s hard work over the past few days.”