Nissan Victory Silverstone Championship Race posted on 06 June 2011
Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr took an incredible victory for Nissan at Silverstone today in an enthralling GT1 Championship Race packed full of drama from start to finish. The German duo, driving the no.23 JR Motorsports, were engaged in a fascinating battle for the lead throughout the race with the no.7 Aston Martin, but were able to hold off the British marque’s challenge to clinch first place, and with it secure their names on the prestigious RAC Tourist Trophy and move up to first place in the GT1 driver standings. As at yesterday, the no.20 Sumo Power GT was the only other GT-R to finish the race, ending up in seventh.
The start of the race was quite subdued in comparison to yesterday’s Qualifying Race, with no real incidents of note, although the no.20, beginning in fourth place, lost a number of places on the first lap after starting driver Warren Hughes ran wide on track. The Briton resumed his race in 13th place, sandwiched directly between the no.22 JRM and no.21 Sumo Power, both of whom started way back on the grid after crashing out on the opening lap yesterday.
At the front, it was as you were on the starting grid, with Krumm locked to the rear of the first placed no.7 Aston, and the no.11 Corvette close behind in third. With the top three pulling away quickly from the rest of the field, the real action was happening further back, and Richard Westbrook, in the no.22 JRM, was at the heart of it, moving up three places to ninth with some aggressive driving.
Unfortunately, Westbrook’s efforts were to be for nothing as moments later, whilst battling for eighth, a reckless manoeuvre by the no.8 Aston Martin’s Stefan Mucke – forcibly hitting the GT-R side on – bought both cars’ races to a premature end.
That incident bought the safety car out, and, with the pit window opening moments later, all the cars on the grid pitted together. Happily for Nissan, the tables were turned from yesterday, and this time the no.23 was able to emerge in front of the no.7 Aston in first after a brilliantly fast tyre change/driver change-over. The two Sumo Power cars also enjoyed incredible stops, making up several places to emerge from the pit-lane in sixth (no.20) and seventh (no.21).
There was further drama to come the moment the safety car withdrew. The no.7 Aston instantly overtook the JRM, only for Luhr, fresh in behind the wheel, to claim back his lead later on the same lap. However, that was nothing compared to the huge collision that occurred on the middle of the track a few seconds later, wiping out five middle order cars, including David Brabham’s no.21 Sumo Power, in one fell swoop, and dropping Enrique Bernoldi’s no.20 back into ninth.
The intense action wasn’t finished there however, and in fact continued right up until the final lap, when the no.7 Aston managed to take the lead from the JRM, only for Luhr to wrestle it back with a brilliantly aggressive manoeuvre that actually saw both cars come into contact. The German was able to see out the final few seconds of the race to secure a memorable victory, whilst Bernoldi managed to make up a couple of places in the final few laps to come home in seventh.
Speaking afterwards, a jubilant Michael Krumm said: “That was just amazing! Lucas and I can both be very proud to win the race and with it join the list famous and historic names on the beautiful RAC Tourist Trophy. I felt very jealous last year when Jamie Campbell-Walter won it in the Sumo Power, so it’s a wonderful feeling. The trophy has great significance, and, as such, this is one of the most important victories in my career.
“I tried to get a start similar to Lucas yesterday when he took the lead, but I didn’t quite manage to overtake the Aston on the outside of turn one, so I slotted in behind and I was pleased we got away without accidents. The target then was to stay really close to Tomas (Enge) before we pitted and try to jump them in the pitlane. It was a bit frustrating that the distance we had to the rest of the field was nullified when the Safety Car came out, but in the end our mechanics did an amazing job to get us out first. I’m delighted!”
Lucas Luhradded: “Firstly, I have to say a massive thanks to the boys for a perfect pit stop, which was fantastic and allowed us to come out in the lead. In the first corner I think the Aston dived down the inside immediately and I let him in because I didn’t want to have an accident or unnecessary contact, but on the same lap I was able to go back and make a move.
“The rain made things quite difficult – sometimes you see raindrops on your screen and you ask yourself ‘should I slow down a bit?’ I enjoyed it though – I think we had a few taps with the Aston Martin but everything was clean and fair. I’m pretty happy obviously for myself but also for the whole team, as they did a fantastic job. Thanks to Nissan as well, for providing us with this really wonderful GT-R.
“Obviously we are in England, and as an English team JRM had a lot of family, friends and sponsors here. To give them a victory is very sweet. I can’t remember in my career when I screamed so loud on the radio!”
Round six of the GT1 World Championship, at Navarra, Spain, will take place on the weekend of the 2nd – 3rd July, 2011.