Sumo Power does it again!
Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck claimed their second podium finish of the weekend, when they drove their Sumo Power GT Nissan GT-R to an excellent third in the Championship race at Brno Circuit, round three of the FIA GT1 World Championship. For team-mates Warren Hughes and Jamie Campbell-Walter it was not the day they were hoping for, when any chance of a good result was eliminated on the opening lap after another car made contact in turn four, the impact puncturing the Nissan’s left rear tyre.
Dry and sunny conditions greeted the teams for the main race on the programme at the challenging 5.4 kilometre track in the Czech Republic. After the Qualifying Race on Saturday, Krumm and Dumbreck in car 23 lined up third, whilst Hughes and Campbell-Walter started 21st and on the back row, having retired on the final lap when debris from the track broke a brake pipe.
As cars blasted down the pit straight for the rolling start, Krumm immediately made up a place and into second behind the Maserati of Andrea Bertolini – local driver Tomas Enge making a surprisingly slow getaway in his Aston Martin. However, it was a different story for Hughes in car 22. Having fought his way past four cars by the time he reached turn three, he was hit from behind as he entered turn four, the impact puncturing the left-rear tyre.
Trying to keep the car under control Hughes battled on, only to spin and briefly visit a gravel trap when he arrived at turn 10. He therefore had no choice but to come into the pits for a new wheel. Two laps later he was called in again, the team wanting to ensure that the pieces of broken bodywork were not going to cause any further damage.
Then, after an incident on lap three, the safety car was deployed for two laps while the track was cleared. When racing resumed, Krumm maintained his position behind Bertolini, but a lap later the Maserati driver was signalled into the pits for a drive-through penalty, having gathered too much speed before crossing the line during the rolling start.
This meant that Krumm went straight into the lead and continued to head the field when the safety car was deployed for a second time. During this period the clock ticked past the 25-minute distance and consequently the pit-stop window opened.
Seizing the advantage to carry out the compulsory driver-swap and tyre-change whilst cars were circulating slowly, most of the field decided to pit at the end of lap nine, with Dumbreck taking over from Krumm for the second stint in car 23. After the Sumo Power GT team fitted the new set of wheels in one of the fastest times ever, precious seconds were lost as Dumbreck went to exit the garage area, the car in the neighbouring pit was parked too close to get past without Dumbreck being pushed back for a second attempt.
As he re-joined the track, the Sumo Power GT team were frustrated to see that he was now in third behind the Ford GT of Thomas Mutsch in first and the Aston Martin of Darren Turner in second, all three of them separated by just fractions of a second.
The remaining half of the race saw the leading trio locked in battle and, although the gap between Mutsch, Turner and Dumbreck rarely measured more than a second, all three cars and drivers were so evenly matched that there was unlikely to be a change of positions without someone making a particularly brave move. Even though Dumbreck got close to Turner, the opportunity to pass was never really there and subsequently, positions remained the same to the end of the race.
Although a lap down, it didn’t stop Campbell-Walter from executing a number of his trade-mark overtaking manoeuvres during the course of his stint. And, as other competitors threw themselves into the gravel and other run-off areas around the circuit, he eventually crossed the line in 17th place.
However, although not achieving the result they had hoped for with car 22, the team were delighted to see that Hughes and Campbell-Walter were lapping at a top-ten pace, even with the Nissan carrying 40 kilos of success ballast following its victory last time out at Silverstone.
After yet another successful weekend, the Sumo Power GT team not only take with it the trophies for third place, but also a considerable amount of data and information with which it will plan its attack for round four of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Paul Ricard in France on 2 – 4 July.