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2011 FIA GT1 World Championship - Round 8 - Ordos

Race Report

Championship Race

Fred Makowiecki and Maxime Martin in the No.41 Marc VDS Ford GT completed the double at Ordos International Circuit with victory in the Championship race to add to their Qualifying Race success the previous day. The Ford GT couple withstood a sustained pursuit from the No.22 JR Motorsports Nissan GT-R of Richard Westbrook and Peter Dumbreck for the second consecutive race. Stef Dusseldorp and Clivio Piccione in the No.3 Hexis Aston Martin DB9 were true to their promise of finishing on the podium by claiming third place. Fourth was the Hexis stablemates Christian Hohenadel and Andrea Piccini in the No.4 Aston Martin.

As a result of the Qualifying race, the Nissan GT-R's began the race second (No.22), third (No.21), fifth (No.20) and 11th (No.23), and just as the day before got off to a clean start. Nick Catsburg, starting in the No.20 Sumo Power GT, found himself down a position to sixth as the tightly-packed grid jostled for favoured track position in the early corners, but it was a more enjoyable race opening for Lucas Luhr in the No.23 JRM, who quickly overtook two cars to move into ninth. Their nearest challengers for the championship, Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock in the No.38 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago, as a result of the Qualifying race's disqualification.

At the front, both the No.22 JRM, with Westbrook behind the wheel, and Jamie Campbell-Walter's No.21 Sumo Power GT managed to retain their starting grid positions, chasing the No.41 Marc VDS Ford GT.

Catsburg's afternoon was to get much worse moments later when his No.20 Sumo Power Nissan GT-R spun out into the gravel trap, instantly ending the car's race. The incident had the knock on effect of bringing out the Safety Car as the stranded vehicle was towed out of the way, tightly bunching the field once again, and by the time full race conditions had resumed, the pit window was closely ahead. The remaining three GT-Rs were to pit in second (No.22), third (No.21), and ninth (No.23). Meanwhile, Winkelhock in the No.38 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Murcielago produced a stunning opening stint to bring the No.38 through the field before handing over to Basseng who rejoined in eighth place.

The pit lane was ultimately, where much of the day's action was to happen for the Nissan GT-R's, as the No.21 Sumo Power GT and the No.23 JR Motorsports GT-R, pitting in quick succession, were both to have slow stops due to issues with changing the wheels. Meanwhile, the second-placed No.22 JRM, hoping for a quick stop to leap-frog the leading No.41 Marc VDS Ford GT into first, was left frustrated after entering the pit lane directly behind a damaged and slow travelling Belgian Racing Ford GT, costing the Nissan several vital seconds.

The No.21 Sumo Power GT, with David Brabham now behind the wheel, re-emerged four places down in seventh place and the No.23 JRM Nissan GT-R, with Krumm at the helm, three down to ninth, whilst Dumbreck's No.22 JRM remained in second. However, a very fast stop from the No.22's pit crew suggested that it could have been even better had the delay not occurred, given that the car came out just a single second behind the leading Ford GT.

The second half of the race saw a strong drive from Krumm to bring the No.23 JRM back up three places into ninth, behind the direct competitor for the championship, the No.38 Lamborghini Murcielago that finished in eighth. Meanwhile, Brabham battled hard to overtake the sixth placed No.37 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini Murcielago in the No.21 Sumo Power GT, but to no avail.

Again, home soil did not prove to be a happy hunting ground for China's Ho-Pin Tung in the No.11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette. Having been deprived of a chance to drive in the Qualifying Race after co-driver Jeroen den Boer damaged the car into retirement; Tung started the main event from the last row.

Tung gained four places by the time of the driver change and den Boer brought the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 home in 12th place. There was further disappointment for the other No.12 Exim Bank Team China Corvette in the hands of Sergio Jimenez and Michael Rossi. Jimenez ran strongly in the midfield before handing over to Rossi who spun the car at turn 17 by getting on the gas a little early and finished last.

As the day before, there was a tight battle for the lead between the No.22 JRM Nissan GT-R and No.41 Marc VDS Ford GT, with the two cars again clear of the rest of the field, but the GT-R was never quite within striking distance to overtake over the Ford GT.

Speaking afterwards, Richard Westbrook of the No.22 JR Motorsports Nissan GT-R, said: "Overall it was a very good, clean race. It was pretty even between ourselves and the Ford GT: it was a case of us not quite having enough to get close enough to overtake, and them not quite having enough to pull away."

"The way the race was going, our only real chance to claim the lead was in the pits. Unfortunately I reckon we lost about five seconds coming in behind the Belgian Racing Ford, and we'd have come out in first otherwise as it was a great pit stop by the team. It wasn't to be, but it's been a very good weekend for us nevertheless."

Richard's team-mate, Peter Dumbreck, added: "It's nice that we've had a change of luck after a run of misfortune this season, and that's down to a lot of hard work from all of the No.22 JRM team. We didn't expect to be that quick here prior to yesterday, so it's been great to be on pace with the Ford- which we knew would be quick here- and much quicker than anyone else. It's been a fantastic weekend for us overall."

"It's also great that JRM lead outright in the Teams' Championship. We knew we had to get a result here with the no.23 carrying so much weight because of its success at Paul Ricard, so it's excellent that we were able to do our bit."

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