Round eight of the FIA
GT1 World Championship, held at the intriguing Ordos circuit, started promisingly for the Sumo Power GT team, with another podium finish for David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter, but a return was stymied by a rare pit-stop slip-up.
It was a case of 'into the unknown' for the Sumo team and its nine GT1 rivals as they made trip to Inner Mongolia for the weekend's two one-hour races at the 3.751km circuit on the outskirts of Ordos city. However, having been unsure if the tight and twisty nature of the track would suit the Nissan GT-R, the team was pleasantly surprised when Brabham and Campbell-Walter topped the timesheets in Friday morning's free practice session with car #21.
With a lot of work on set-up being carried out during the practice sessions, the team's efforts paid off in qualifying, with both its cars getting through to the Q3 shoot-out, with Brabham and Campbell-Walter eventually lining up fifth, one place behind the other Sumo entry.
On a track narrower than most, with a series of tight corners in the first sector and covered in dust, the probability of an accident on the first lap was fairly high buyt, as it turned out, only a small amount of contact was made - and none of it involved either of the two Sumo Power GT-Rs.
While team-mate Enrique Bernoldi seized the moment and elbowed his way up to third in car #20, Brabham held station in fifth, but the Australian was more than happy with the way his GT-R was performing, pulling off a classic overtaking move on the Lamborghini ahead of him to take fourth place on lap nine.
He then went in pursuit of his team-mate and, just a few laps before the pit stop window opened for the compulsory mid-race change of drivers and tyres, overtook Bernoldi, who was still having issues trying to slow his car down for some of the corners.
Following the stops, Campbell-Walter took over car #21 and re-joined the race in the same position as Brabham left it.
Equally happy with the car he stepped into, JC-W went on to consolidate third position, albeit unable to catch the leaders, and earn another podium appearance for the Sumo team.
Starting from P3 and P5 for the Championship race mean that the two white GT-Rs were perfectly poised to fight at the front of the field, and a clean start by Campbell-Walter saw the #21 hold position through the opening lap.
When young team-mate Nick Catsburg was tipped into a spin, the Sumo baton was thrust firmly into the hands of Campbell-Walter and Brabham, the Australian taking over the third-placed car during the mandatory mid-race pit-stop.