FIA GT » 17 May 2011
Sumo solid at Sachsenring
David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter helped contribute to Sumo Power GT's best combined finish of the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship at Sachsenring in Germany.
The Sumo Power GT team came away from round four of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Sachsening satisfied with its results, claiming a brace of fourths with car #20 and two top ten results for the #21 of David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter.
The results were particularly rewarding as, prior to the weekend, the 3.7km German circuit was not thought to suit the team's two Nissan GT-Rs. However, although the cars were not the quickest through the narrow, twisty sections, their raw power amply made up for it on the straights.
Despite a red flag interrupting the opening qualifying session, both cars made it through to Q2, but another stoppage in the second phase denied Campbell-Walter the clear lap he needed to get car #21 higher than eleventh. Thaat became tenth on the grid when a car ahead in the qualifying times was later penalised, while the sister car moved up to fourth, showing what might have been.
With the first corner a tightening, off-camber right-hander that narrowed at the exit, Campbell-Walter kept a respectful distance between himself and his rivals, mindful of what happened at the start in Zolder, but subsequently dropped to fifth when the understeer that had plagued him in Friday's practice sessions showed the it was still present in the twisty first sector.
Others did not make such a cautions start, bringing out the safety car for three laps. Once things got going again, Campbell-Walter turned in a solid stint before the fastest mandatory pit-stop of the race saw Brabham rejoin in eighth.
The Australian was then able to maintain track position, even though he was suffering from grip issues as the race went on, eventually taking the flag in eighth.
With everyone pleased to see a dry track for the championship race after morning showers, Brabham adopted the same safety first policy at the start that had worked for his team-mates in race one. With three other cars not making it past turn three, however, the safety car returned for four laps.
Whilst the convoy of cars circulated, rain started to fall once more, but, just as the safety car returned to the pits, the clouds disappeared, and cars #20 and #21 held their original starting postions, despite coming under pressure from behind.
Whilst the sister car pitted for new tyres and a driver swap as soon as the pit window opened, Brabham stayed out until just before it closed, happy with his tyres and the way the GT-R was handling. This, coupled with another blisteringly quick pit-stop, was enough to see car #21 jump three places by the time Campbell-Walter returned to the fray.
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