The American Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE Team, with drivers Tracy W. Krohn, Nic Jönsson and Michele Rugolo, are competing for the first time as a team at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola, Italy. Italian driver Rugolo has many years experience driving the circuit based near the Ferrari factory and built in 1952.
Rugulo’s Imola track experience landed him the chore of setting up the car and qualifying it on the 3.04 mile, 4,909 kilometer track. His time of 1:46.219 earned the third GTE-Am qualifying position. There are 48-cars total in the 6 hour race. Jönsson and Krohn got up to speed quickly, despite limited track time. Jönsson had only raced at Imola once previously on a different circuit configuration. It is Krohn’s first visit to the circuit and he was only seconds off Michele’s fastest time after extensive simulator training to learn the 21-turn counter clockwise track.
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE Am:
“Imola is a great track to drive. It is really pretty and really fast, very technical. It’s got everything you want. It’s got elevation, lever changes, fifty cars; it’s just going to be a fun race. It might rain and we think we’re prepared for that. If it rains, it rains and we’ll just go out and do our business and we’ll do fine.”
“The race will be pandemonium. There will be a lot of cars off the track in different places. The thing we have to watch for inside in the high speed curves is cars coming around and that’s going to be the hard judgment call. Usually when you are going that fast you only get one look at them and then you have to turn or make a decision so that’s the hard part. Secondly is just making the right judgment call. Actually the P (prototype) cars have control over that but you have to take some control as well.”
NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE Am:
“I think Imola is a very technical, fun circuit. I raced here in 1992 but the track has changed quite a bit since then so it is a completely new circuit for me. I got to do about seven or eight laps this morning in damp conditions and that is all I have driven so far. So I don’t have much of a confidence yet in braking and such, depending on grip levels in the corners and those things. I guess I’m going to find that out tomorrow when I go out for the first stint of the race because I’m going to start the race. It will probably take me a few laps to get up to speed and be where we should be okay. I expect to be on the pace where everybody else is.”
“The prototypes, obviously, are very aggressive. It is a pretty narrow track and not very long either. There are not a whole lot of places to pass under braking so I think the prototypes are going to be something you definitely have to keep an eye out for. You must give them plenty of room because they don’t care so much about that car in there. They dive in and are like a tank. We are the ones that always seem to suffer and get pushed out of the way and also seem to suffer with damage to the cars. So I think you have it drive with a lot of patience tomorrow, look in the mirrors quite a bit and stay in front of them and we’ll have a good race.”
MICHELE RUGOLO, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE Am:
“During qualifying I thought I had a puncture on the tire but it was just cold. But I preferred to pit during the middle of the session. Then I went onto the track again and found a Porsche in the middle of the track warming up the tires. So I released to give some space and then pushed again. I found again the Porsche doing the same thing but without watching out for the other cars. I think I could easily have done the same time of (Marco) Cioci but for sure not the pole position. I could have done another 3/10s but definitely not a full second. A second was too much. It took a little bit to be there, although we are not so far.”
“I know the Imola track very well. I think it’s very difficult to do a race like that – where there are too many cars on the track. As they said during the driver’s briefing, it’s like putting a big shoe in a little box of shoes. It is very difficult but we have to try it. During the race it will be very important to be very consistent and pay attention to the other cars trying to overtake. There will be a lot of dirty stuff on the track. It will be very dirty. It’s not possible to pass very much, especially in the chicanes. However, physically it is very nice here.”
“The weather should be fine tomorrow for the people watching but not so fine for the drivers. It will be very warm in the car. It will be tough – because of the warm temperatures and because of the track and because of the cars. It will be tough but we will do it. We need to save time in the pits. Let’s see if something good can happen after the disappointment with the Le Mans race (a DNF).”
DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Engineer and Team Manager:
“I’m disappointed to be third in qualifying. We really thought we were within a shout of being on pole in our class, which would have been nice to get the extra point. We think we have bit of an understanding of why the car wasn’t as quick in qualifying as we had expected. We can rectify that for the race. Otherwise, of course, it’s a six hour race. The only reason qualifying is important is because there is a championship point. Otherwise, it is of no relevance to the race at all. While we are devastated not to be on pole we are going to go and win our class in the race. That’s our target and has been our target since we set out in the championship.
The start of the race is going to be extremely busy. The start of the race, although you expect that to be the busiest period, because obviously the prototypes will just go, it’s only when they start coming back through the field again after seven or 10 laps that the traffic will really start to play. If there are any safety car periods, that will get hectic too, although having two safety cars does split the field so it reduces the number of cars in each group. It is going to be very hectic throughout the race into these chicanes and everybody is going to have to show a lot of respect to each other not to have big piles of broken racing cars in the middle of the race.”
“The key to success in this race is patience. And then after that it’s patience. That’s all it is about – just be patient and just do your job, work at your pace, drive the car at the pace it will go that you can drive inside the limits of the car giving yourself a bit of extra room when you come up on traffic or when there are faster cars around you so that you make it to the end of hour six. I believe there will be a lot of cars that don’t make it to the end of the race.”
The No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GTE-Am will start from the third position in the GTE-Am class with Nic Jönsson as starting driver. Sunday’s 6 Hours of Imola race is the fourth stop on the seven race 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Series. Krohn Racing was crowned the inaugural ILMC GTE-Am winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring. They finished eighth at Spa and were classified with a DNF at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a blown motor sidelined then before the 11th hour.
BY: Krohn Racing