9 May 2011
Double Algarve podium for Brabham, Campbell-Walter
Lady Luck finally shone on David Brabham, Jamie Campbell-Walter and the Sumo Power GT team in Portugal.
Jamie Campbell-Walter and David Brabham scored the Sumo Power GT team's first podium results of the 2011 season when they finished third in both of the GT1 World Championship at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
Following the start-line crash at Belgium, the Sumo Power GT team had worked tirelessly to ensure both its Nissan GT-Rs were ready for the weekend's races, but there had not been time to test before arriving in Portugal and therefore Friday's free practice and pre-qualifying sessions were used to shakedown the cars and set them up for the fast and undulating 4.692km circuit.
Despite the Zolder setback, hopes were high for a good result in round three of the series, as the team had taken victory in the Algarve in 2010's Qualifying Race, and qualifying saw both Sumo cars go through to the shoot-out for the first eight places on the grid.
The team was delighted to see car #20 set the second fastest time and the Brabham/Campbell-Walter machine settle in fifth. However, because the fourth-placed Aston Martin was later penalised for an irregular engine-change, the #21 car was promoted to P4 and, with Sumo Power GT's sister team, JRM Racing, claiming P1 and P3, it was all Nissan GT-Rs on the front two rows for Saturday's race.
While Ricardo Zonta saw a great start negated by a Lamborghini-inspired spin, Brabham seized the advantage and tucked into third place behind the JRM Nissans. Although not able to make headway on the leading pair, lap-by-lap the Australian pulled away from the cars behind him and was comfortably ahead of the fourth-placed Aston Martin as he pulled into the pits for the compulsory mid-race stop to change tyres and drivers.
With no problems during the second half, other than the usual issue of tyre wear, Campbell-Walter held onto the place to the end, delighting the team with its first podium of the season.
Car #21's result meant that Campbell-Walter started on the inside of the second row for the weekend's Championship Race, and a clean start saw the leading trio of Nissans hold position through the first corner, with Campbell-Walter slotting into third behind the two JRM cars.
Towards the end of his stint, due to increasing tyre pressures in the hot conditions, the Scot was caught by an Aston Martin and, although the Sumo pit-stop wasn't a slow one, it resulted in Brabham rejoining the race in fourth place.
Just when it looked as though the Australian was going to have to be content with just missing the podium, however, Peter Dumbreck's Nissan stopped on lap 27 and promoted the leading Sumo entry back into third spot, which was an excellent outcome following the disappointment and bad luck endured at Zolder.
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