David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter gave the Sumo Power GT team a well-deserved podium finish in round six of the FIA
GT1 World championship, crossing the line in third palce as the series visited the relatively new circuit at Navarra in southern Spain.
Driving the #21 Nissan GT-R, the excellent result followed a fourth-place finish in Saturday's Qualifying Race and was a much-needed boost to the team in what was essentially a hard two days of competition.
The Sumo Power team was delighted with the pace of its two GT-Rs, which performed over and above expectation on the tight and twisty track, having been thought to prefer circuits with long, fast, sweeping corners, but could not replicate the #21's results with the #20 sister car.
Qualifying took place on Saturday morning and, with temperatures well into the 30s, tyre management was to be an important issue. Both the Sumo Power GT GT-Rs made it through to Q2, but only car #21 progressed to Q3, with Campbell-Walter setting an impressive fifth-fastest time.
However, because of the five-place grid penalty picked up at Silverstone
- when Brabham made contact with another car - the pair started the Qualifying Race from tenth, ironically benefitting team-mates Enrique Bernoldi and Nick Catsburg, who were elevated one place to P8.
In even hotter conditions at race time, Brabham was first to drive in car #21, but the usual scenario of 16 cars trying to get through turn one at the same time saw the Australian driver having to brake and move off line far more than he would have liked in order to keep out of trouble, dropping to 13th by the end of the first lap.
Brabham, however, felt he had a better car than his position suggested, and quickly moved up to tenth, before closing on Catsburg by the time the pit-stop window opened after 25 minutes of competition.
A fantastic wheel change, carried out in a touch over 20 seconds, meant that Campbell-Walter rejoined the race in sixth place and then proceeded to catch and pass other cars ahead of him.
The Scot claimed fourth place with just a few laps to go, putting the team in an upbeat mood for Sunday's main race.
Due to the second-placed Lamborghini requiring an engine change - out of step with the Championship regulations' timetable - it meant that a five-place grid penalty was applied and, consequently, Campbell-Walter moved up a place to start the Championship Race from third on the grid. Capitalising on his slightly elevated position, he made a perfect start and tucked his GT-R neatly on the inside of the first corner to take second place – much to the delight of the team.