Tuesday, 17 May 2016 08:58

Fortune fails to smile on Krohn Racing at the 4 Hours of Imola

Krohn Racing turned in a highly competitive performance today in Italy at the 4 Hours of Imola, the second round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series. Despite missing the contribution of Team Principal, Tracy Krohn, sidelined by a training injury, the team was competitive, running at the sharp end of the field throughout the whole event.

Björn Wirdheim started the race from the second row thanks to a mighty effort from Olivier Pla during Qualifying. The Swede maintained a strong challenge in the first stint before handing over driving duties to fellow countryman, Nic Jönsson, who double-stinted during the middle sector of the race reinforcing the efforts of Björn. The team’s strategy on fuel and tires would have paid dividends in the final stint driven by Olivier but for the intervention of the weather when the Imola Autodromo was hit by a torrential rain storm. As a consequence Race Control decided to neutralise the action on track on safety grounds and Krohn Racing was denied the opportunity to realize their true potential that would have likely led to a podium place. 


The race ended under the control of the Safety Car, which meant that sixth place was the finishing place for the team’s Nissan-powered, Michelin-shod Ligier JS P2. This was as a result of the timing of the final pit stop just before the heavy rains fell which dropped the car to  from fourth. The additional stop robbed the team of the advantage earned through their pit strategy when have to come into the pits again for wet weather tires. The team will regroup and head to France for the Le Mans 24 Hours, the eleventh consecutive participation in the world greatest endurance motor race. 


Jeff Glover, Team Manager Krohn Racing: “This car and team had a great momentum coming through the first two-thirds of this event. Great work by Lee and the team, plus the drivers and Michelin Tires put us in line for a strong podium finish but the weather conditions went against us. Sometimes that’s just how it goes in racing - but we are disappointed to not be able to realize anywhere near our full potential. We are looking forward to having Tracy return to driving with us at Le Mans next month and getting a result that reflects the true potential of Krohn Racing.” 


Lee Penn, Race Engineer Krohn Racing: “Our strategy was very good, we made all the right calls at the right time and looking at how the race went we would have been challenging for a podium position but by the time Olivier came to drive the rain and the Full Course Yellow and Safety Car neutralised any advantage we had accrued. He only had ten dry laps and he was running at the pace of the fastest lap, posting a purple sector. However, the weather and other issues intervened, sometimes that happens in motor racing.”


Nic Jönsson, driver Krohn Racing: “First off I want to say thank you to Krohn Racing and Greaves Motorsport for doing a phenomenal job here in Imola. Of course also thank you to Tracy and Laurie for giving us the opportunity to race despite that fact that Tracy could not be here. We had a very good car, and Michelin had a very good tire for us all weekend. Unfortunately there were a number of calls that were questionable in my view, such as not going back to racing in the last 40 minutes. The rain had stopped, we had rain tires, we are here to race. We travel all over the world to go racing and I think we should get the opportunity to race and not cruise around like an exhibition. Unfortunately that happened today but hopefully the decision process will be reviewed and we can go back racing, especially at our next event, the Le mans 24 Hours.”


Olivier Pla, driver Krohn Racing: “Well it was a very disappointing result in the end. When I got in the car at the beginning of my stint, it was still dry and the car was unbelievably quick. I have to give a big thanks to Krohn Racing and Greaves Motorsport who gave us a great car and the Michelin Tires were perfect for the track. Unfortunately I could not exploit this advantage as it started to rain after ten laps and then the race was neutralised. I think that we should have gone back racing for the final 40 minutes, we had a very good opportunity for a top result but we were not able to realize this.”


Björn Wirdheim, driver Krohn Racing: “It was a pleasure working with Krohn Racing again, I was really pleased to get the call once Tracy was ruled out, it was really unfortunate that he could not race here. We were looking very strong before the start of the race, with Olivier doing a great job in Qualifying. This performance continued throughout the race but events overtook us, particularly the weather. We were on course for a good result but it got away from us due to circumstances beyond our control, sometimes that happens in racing and you have to accept it and come back stronger.”

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