After their victory at Silverstone was upheld earlier this week following a rejected appeal, Jamie Campbell-Walter is looking for he and his Sumo Power team to build on their encouraging form in Britain at the third round of the GT1 World Championship in the Czech Republic today.
The Briton and Warren Hughes, his co-driver, finished third in the second round of the series in Britain earlier this month, but were promoted to top spot in their Nissan GT-R after the leading two Aston Martin cars were both penalised for infringements. The race-winning pair of Darren Turner and Tomas Enge were excluded because their car's mandatory underfloor skid plank was worn beyond the permitted tolerance.
Meanwhile, second-placed Frederic Makowiecki and Thomas Accary were given a 15-second time penalty, which dropped them behind Campbell-Walter and Hughes, for failing to take a pit-lane penalty within the allotted three laps. While there was a heavy degree of fortune about the way the victory came about, Campbell-Walter, who is the Yas Marina Circuit's official two-seater Formula One driver, was pleased with how he and the team bounced back from their disappointing performance in the first round of the series in Abu Dhabi.
Back in April they struggled massively at Yas and had finished a distant 12th. But they were a team transformed in Britain at Silverstone and had finished a deserved third, before being elevated to first. "After Silverstone there is a buzz running through the whole team," Campbell-Walter said. "We have raised our own bar, which is a good thing in some ways, but it means that we will be putting pressure on ourselves for another top result."
Campbell-Walter and Hughes though are a victim of their own success in that they will have to start today's race with a heavier car than they did at Silverstone. Under the regulations for the GT1 series, which is in its maiden year, weight ballast is added to cars that are successful in the previous race. The consequence of the Silverstone success is that theirs will be the heaviest car in the field with an extra 40kgs of weight added.
Part of the reason for the improvement in pace at the last round had come from the car losing weight after a review of the performance balancing testing, which had been done with the aim of having an even playing field and no one having a car advantage. Of the weight disadvantage, Campbell-Walter added: "My main concern is the addition of the success ballast as we don't want to go back to the experience we had in Abu Dhabi, although I'm pretty confident that we won't."
But Campbell-Walter and Hughes face a tall order to score points in today's race after a last-lap spin in the qualifying race left them 21st on the starting grid. The pair had been running ninth, but on the last lap Campbell-Walter went off into the gravel and all the good work was undone. At the other end of the grid, Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini, the Vitaphone Maserati drivers, will start from pole position.
* Compiled by Graham Caygill FIA GT Championship third round, 4pm, Showsports 4