29 June 2011
Sumo ready to fight back in Navarra
David Brabham will lead Sumo Power GT's efforts to bounce back from its Tourist Trophy disappointment when the FIA GT1 series reconvenes in Spain this weekend.
The Navarra circuit in north-eastern Spain is the setting for round six of the FIA GT1 World Championship, and Sumo Power GT is hoping that a return to the Iberian peninsula is an omen for a return to success.
David Brabham and Jamie Campbell-Walter enjoyed two trips to the podium on the series last visit to southern Europe, at the Portimao circuit on the Algarve, and the pair will spearhead Sumo's assault on the weekend at the wheel of the #21 Nissan GT-R.
After a frustrating two races in round five at Silverstone four weeks ago, the team has never been more ready to put the record straight, and Brabham and Campbell-Walter will be looking to redress the balance for a pair of DNFs in their home event.
However, neither are the kind to dwell on the past and are as positive as ever about their chances in Spain – especially as Campbell-Walter recorded a podium position in the Championship Race their last year.
The 3.933km Navarra Circuit is situated 60km south-east of Pamplona, near the small town of Los Arcos and, as the track is just over a year old, it will be a new experience for many of the drivers on the grid this weekend.
“I like learning new tracks, which I have done a lot this year in this series," Brabham commented, "It looks tighter than Silverstone, so I'm not sure how good our car will be there, but Jamie did have a good run last year.
"A top-five finish would be a good target for us and I know the Sumo Power GT boys are really up for it and have worked hard since the last race to be as competitive as possible. I wasn't happy the way I drove at Silverstone, so that has made me even more determined to finish the second half of the season really well.”
All of the Sumo Power GT drivers attended the test at the Motorland Circuit near Aragón on Monday and Tuesday, and it was the first time since the season began the team has had a true opportunity to try a range of set-ups on its GT-Rs, with the engineers reporting that it was a worthwhile two days.
“I don't think I can remember the team ever being more determined for a good result than it is now," team principal Andy Barnes noted, "Everyone has worked hard to get things right and we therefore go to Navarra with both GT-Rs s running well and a fresh approach to the second half of the season.”
Joining the Sumo Power GT team in Navarra is Dutch driver Nick Catsburg, who will partner Enrique Benoldi in the #20 car in place of Warren Hughes. Not joining the team, however, is Le Mans winner Guy Smith, whose association was purely one of testing.
The on-track action kicks off on Friday with free practice and pre-qualifying. Saturday sees qualifying start at 1115hrs CET, followed by the first of the weekend's two one-hour races at 1645hrs. The main Championship Race is scheduled to get the green light at 1345hrs on Sunday, and race fans can catch live coverage of the action on www.sumopowergt.com.
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