8 June 2011
Tourist Trophy frustration for Brabham
While the Sumo Power GT team scored points at Silverstone's round of the FIA GT1 World Championship, it wasn't the #21 car of David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter in the money.
Sumo Power GT came away from the fifth round of the FIA GT1 World Championship with mixed emotions after Enrique Bernoldi and Warren Hughes finished fourth in race one and seventh in race two, but for David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter it proved to be a frustrating weekend after DNFs in both races.
With Hughes and Campbell-Walter winning the event as team-mates last year, both were eager to repeat the success in different cars this time round, buoyed by the fact that the Nissan GT-R's speed and handling suited the long straights and faster sections of Silverstone's 3.66-mile circuit.
An excellent qualifying session saw both Sumo cars get through to Q3 for the shoot-out for the top eight grid positions, with Brabham and Campbell-Walter putting car #21 into sixth, one place ahead of the sister machine.
With the weekend seeing the first ever races from the circuit's new start/finish line between Club and Abbey, teams could only predict what was likely to happen as the field streamed through the complex of first corners - and, inevitably, there was contact, with Brabham hitting the back of Darren Turner's Aston Martin as cars rounded the fourth corner.
The contact saw car #21 emerge with damage to its front-right corner and, with his mount looking worse for wear, Brabham pulled into the pits, where his engineers discovered a leak in the radiator, signalling the Australian's retirement.
With the results of race one dictating the start positions of race two, Campbell-Walter lined up only 14th as spots of rain started to fall.
Despite concerns over grip levels, the Scot soon found himself behind slow-starting team-mate Hughes, as the pair completed the first lap in 13th and 14th, but moved up two places over the next ten laps, before the safety car appeared just as the mid-race pit window opened.
Predictably, all teams decided to stop to change drivers and tyres, with both Sumo Power GT Nissans coming in at the same time. A perfectly-executed change of wheels by the pit-crew for each car meant that both Bernoldi and Brabham were elevated to sixth and seventh respectively and, with both GT-Rs running well, in line for possible top-four positions.
As it turned out, both Sumo drivers ended up involved with incidents shortly after the safety car period, with Bernoldi being knocked into a spin and Brabham running off the track and getting beached in the gravel trap on the outside of Luffield.
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