Two second places sees JRM Racing take Championship lead in China FIA GT1 World Championship - Round Eight Report Ordos, China 3rd & 4th September 2011
They did it on Saturday - and they did it again on Sunday! Richard Westbrook and Peter Dumbreck took their Nissan GT-R no. 22 to two second-place finishes in round eight of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Ordos this weekend: one in the Qualifying Race and another in the Championship Race.
Although finding good pace, their final result is not what Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr deserved, their speed on the track not matching their speed in the pits when, on both days, a problem with a wheel nut meant they scored an 11th and 9th place finish respectively. However, these results see Krumm and Luhr continue to lead the Drivers' standings and, when their points are added to that of car 22's, the combined total means that JRM Racing now also lead the Championship for teams.
The visit to Inner Mongolia was a first for many of the Championship's teams and drivers. Therefore, with little knowledge about the Chinese circuit, JRM-Racing were unsure as to how its Nissan GT-Rs would perform around the twisty and very dusty 3.751km track, until cars took to the tarmac on Friday for the Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying sessions.
As it turned out, the team was pleased by the outcome, with even the 60kilos of success ballasted bolted into car 23 not appearing to cause a drastic degradation in lap times. However, the acid test of competitiveness was proved during Saturday morning's Qualifying sessions.
A consistently quick performance by Dumbreck and Westbrook saw them hold Pole position, until the Ford GT of Maxine Martin and Fredric Makowiecki stole the place in the final seconds of the session, meaning that car 22 would start from P2. Even with its extra weight on board, a stunning lap in Q2 by Krumm allowed Luhr to put car 23 on P7 for the first of the weekend's two one-hour races.
Qualifying RaceA good clean start saw Dumbreck, who was first to drive car 22, slot the GT-R neatly behind the Ford as the grid streamed into turn one. Thankfully, the following pack mostly behaved themselves through the sequence of tight corners in sector one and, although it was close, only a small amount of contact was made. However, it meant that Krumm in car 23 had to take evasive action, forcing him drop two places in the process.
For the rest of his stint Dumbreck was able to keep the Ford ahead of him in his sight. But even though his GT-R was running well, he could not make an impression on the leader and, by the time he came in for the mandatory mid-race pit stop to change tyres and drivers on lap 16, the margin between them had increased.
Krumm was soon able to reel-in the Corvette ahead of him and, even though his Nissan appeared to have more pace, he remained in ninth right up to his pit stop. But it didn't go well: a wheel nut failed to locate itself properly and 10 seconds was lost. This meant that Luhr exited the pit lane in a frustrating 14th place and although he made up two places, the best he could salvage was 12th.
However, a good pit stop for car 22 saw Westbrook emerge much closer to the leader and he was able to close the gap to just over a second during the early part of his race. He then mirrored the Ford lap-for-lap, both he and Makowieki driving on the limits and just hoping one or the other would make a mistake.
But neither faltered and Westbrook crossed the line to score a well-deserved second place, having pulled-out an advantage of nearly half-a-minute ahead of the rest of the field. The result put JRM-Racing at the top of the Teams' points-table and also saw Krumm and Luhr retain their Drivers' Championship lead ahead of Sunday's Championship Race.
Qualifying Race results (pdf) <http://www.rpmpromotions.com/jrmotorsport/GT1QualifyingRaceResults.pdf
Championship RaceSo far this season, the All-Inkl Lamborghini team is JRM Racing's main rival in the Teams' Championship, with two of its drivers Marc Bassang and Marcus Winklehock consequently Krumm and Luhr's closest rivals for the Drivers' title. After crossing the line in sixth place in the Qualifying Race, FIA scrutineers discovered a technical issue with Bassang and Winklehock's car and it was subsequently excluded from the results. Therefore, with the Lamborghini moved to the back of the grid, Krumm and Luhr started the Championship Race one place higher in 11th.
When the lights went Green, it was a repeat of Dumbreck's Saturday first corner performance by Westbrook, who slotted in behind the Ford GT of Makoweiki. Once again, although the Nissan could stay in contention - a situation helped by the deployment o the Safety Car from laps seven to nine - Westbrook could not get into a position to challenge for the lead.
Meanwhile, Luhr in car 23 was pleased to have made a clean getaway and made up a place on the opening lap. Then, on lap two, he got on the outside of a Ford GT through turns one and two and then stormed past at the chicane to take 9th place.
With both of the JRM Racing GT-Rs finding good pace and, with the potential of two high-point scoring finishes now in the team's sights, the ten-minute window opened for the mandatory mid-race pit stop. Luhr was first in and now in eighth place. But then, with the first three wheels of his car changed in record time, disaster struck whilst car 23's crew changed the fourth.
As in Saturday's race, the wheel nut would not locate, but this time an agonising 20 seconds was lost and consequently Krumm joined the race in 13th place. Westbrook came in one lap later, only to find himself stuck behind a Belgium Racing Ford GT going very slowly down the pit lane. Unfortunately, this cost car 22 about five seconds but, when Dumbreck exited the pit lane, he was pleased to find that second place had been retained and was in fact, even closer to Martin, who was now in the leading Ford.
Like Luhr, Krumm was eager to make up places and, driving his GT-R as hard as he could, he was not only able to make up four places before the end of the race, but nearly grabbed another when he crossed the line, ironically just two-tenths behind the Lamborghini of Bassang/Winklehock.
Even with a second Safety Car period for two laps because of the kerbing at turn eight breaking up, Dumbreck got close - very close - to the leader, but was unable to get past and eventually crossed the line just 0.7 second behind. Although there had been some fraught moments in the JRM Racing camp during the pit stops, overall the team was pleased to have scored two podiums at a circuit which could have proved unsuitable for the Nissans and even further pleased to have come away from Ordos having extended its lead in both the Teams' and Drivers' Championships.
JRM Racing now prepares for round nine of the FIA GT1 World Championship - the second of the two events in China - which takes place at the Goldenport circuit in Beijing on Saturday (10th September). The following Sunday will see the team in action again, this time outside the Birds Nest Olympic stadium, when JRM Racing will take part in a major promotional event to publicise the Championship and its teams.
Championship Race results (pdf) <http://www.rpmpromotions.com/jrmotorsport/GT1ChampionshipRaceResults.pdf
Richard Westbrook (car 22)We've had two good, clean races this weekend and it's been great to be back on the podium again. We didn't have quite enough to win, but our team has done a great job to get the car so competitive and give us some very quick pit stops. It was also good to see so many spectators here for the Championship Race, it created a really good atmosphere.
Peter Dumbreck (Car 22)We worked hard all weekend with our engineer and it's paid off. We didn't expect to be on such a good pace and, other than the Ford ahead of us, such a distance ahead of everyone else. We knew that we were likely to be the leading JRM car, as 23 was carrying a lot of success ballast, so our target was to score and many points as we could in both races - and I'm pleased that's what we did."
Michael Krumm (Car 23)It's difficult to win Championships when things go wrong - and that was the case for both our races this weekend. We did a lot of work on setting up the car and it's therefore a shame for all of the team that we didn't get the result that we should have done. It was good to know that, even with the extra weight, we could have scored good points, so we'll now have to do everything we can to get a good result in Beijing to keep on top of the points tables."
Lucas Luhr (Car 23)"We had a really quick car this weekend. Everything was going according to plan until we got to the pits. We only needed normal speed pit stops - not super-quick versions - and that would have done. When you do the best you can and things don't go right, it is frustrating for everyone. But I am pleased that we are still leading the Championship anyway."
Nigel Stepney (Team Manager and Chief Engineer) "Two second places was a job well done by Peter and Richard and just what we wanted to achieve at Ordos. We did some work on car 23 in between the first and second races and both Lucas and Michael were able to push and make up places in the Championship Race. However, all the good work was undone when - on both days - a wheel nut did not go on properly. If we are not careful we will lose the Championship because of mistakes, rather than being beaten on the track."
James Rumsey (Team Principal)Peter and Richard in car 22 delivered a really solid performance, which was a great boost for them after their recent run of bad luck. Their result was also great for our Teams' Championship points. Michael and Lucas in car 23 were delayed during the pit stops on both days and it means that they did not finish as high as they should have done. This has now put pressure on us going to Beijing, but at least they lose some ballast and we'll certainly be putting up a fight next weekend to extend our lead in the Teams and Drivers' Championships."