Although many teams complained about tire issues at the dusty circuit, it seemed the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 suffered with extensive grip issues. After trying numerous compounds, combinations and tire pressures, the team ultimately fell back several laps and decided to use the race as a tire test session to gain valuable data for future races.
Jönsson started the Ferrari in the seventh position in the GTE-Am class and lost time as other team's tires seemed to come up, while the Krohn Ferrari tires struggled with no grip. Jönsson was finally able to close a little gap as his competitors tires went off towards the end of the stint and he was able to maintain the same times.
Krohn was the second driver in rotation and also suffered with grip issues and had to constantly work to get heat in the tires. He turned the car over to Mediani, who was able to post some fast times after team engineers and the previous drivers worked to overcome some of the tire issues.
The drivers cycled through another stint each with limited issues and manageable lap times until Mediani's final stint. Three laps into his last stint, an apparent stuck throttle forced him off track, where he skillfully managed to get the car stopped before hitting the wall.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
"The tires sucked but we made them better. We changed compounds, we changed combinations, we changed pressures and the car got better. We had some unfortunate events out there. I went out on another set of compounds and they were fantastic. Unfortunately, the Corvette moved in front of me at the hairpin going down the back straightaway and took away my air and I ran right up the back of him and shoved him off the track and I got in the marbles and knackered the tires up. We also had a jack problem with the car, which put us further behind.
We were running on pace and found some of the same compound tires and although they weren't warm enough when we put them on, the car just kept getting better and better so we just used it as a test session. I think we learned a heck of a lot this weekend. I'm disappointed but I'm not discouraged, so we'll go to Bahrain and do better."
NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
"My second stint was much better than the first. The only thing we changed between the stints was tires. It's a very confusing situation because we also ran the same type of tires in qualifying and we were struggling in comparison to the other guys and also in comparison to practice. Then in the second stint for me the car was almost two seconds faster and we were turning laps out there with the leading GTE-Am #81 car. We were the two quickest Am cars on the track the whole stint, after being the slowest car on track two hours earlier. It's a very puzzling scenario and although I've been doing this for a long time, I don't really know why. It's not very often you are this confused about what's really going on. It's not just this weekend; it's been going on for several races now. We just don't seem to be able to find a solution to figure it out. Hopefully we'll discover something more between now and Bahrain, or at least when we get to Bahrain we are lucky to have five or six sets of good tires down there, if that's the difference between being competitive or not and be able to finish off the season in a good way."
MAURIZIO MEDIANI, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am
"We finished really sad yesterday with a bad qualifying and we are sad now because we don't understand why we did so well in the race. Part of the race our lap times were close to the leader or even faster. At the start we had a change but the feeling we had from the car was not a big change. The problem of the balance was there but the grip was better. I'm confident these next two weeks before the race in Bahrain we can discover why and we can have a better confidence in the car for the last race."
MARK SCHOMANN, Krohn Racing Race Engineer:
"This was one of the more interesting races we've done, but not as bad as the result shows. Basically, we struggled all weekend, more with tires than the car, and we decided to basically use this race as a test to try to be ready for Bahrain and that worked out really well. We really did get a lot out of this race as far as a test. The thing that really hurt us was a race we decided to change tires a lot and experiment, we broke an air jack, which made it extremely difficult. But it was a very good test session for us. If that was all we were going to get out of the day rather than points, it was well worth it. I feel a lot more confident, and so do the drivers, in our tires and how we react to the tires for Bahrain."
The next event for the Krohn Racing team will be the final race of the season, Round 8 of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), at the 6 Hours of Bahrain, in Bahrain, Middle East, on Saturday, November 30, 2013.
For more information, please go to www.fiawec.com or www.krohnracing.net.