Portland: Krohn-Barbour Racing qualifying report

The hard-working determination of the Krohn-Barbour Racing pit crew made it possible for the team's two Lamborghini Murcielago R-GTs to participate in this afternoon's timed qualifying runs for tomorrow's Portland Grand Prix, fifth round of the ...

The hard-working determination of the Krohn-Barbour Racing pit crew made it possible for the team's two Lamborghini Murcielago R-GTs to participate in this afternoon's timed qualifying runs for tomorrow's Portland Grand Prix, fifth round of the American Le Mans Series, despite both cars sustaining damage in a freak double-accident earlier in the day.

Misfortune struck the two-car team twenty minutes into this morning's one-hour practice session at Portland International Raceway, Oregon, when the number 6 Lamborghini of Tracy Krohn spun approaching the tight chicane on the Start/Finish straightaway. Team-mate David Brabham was following right behind in the number 5 Lamborghini and, when forced to brake hard, also spun. The gap between the stationary number 6 car and the concrete barriers was a little too narrow for the number 5 car to make it through. The Lamborghinis touched, Krohn's car suffering mostly rear-end damage, Brabham's taking its hardest knock at the front.

Krohn explained: "I got on the brakes and it just snapped away from me, quick as anything. It would've been OK but unfortunately there was some traffic around and David was right behind."

Brabham commented: "The same thing that happened to Tracy happened to me; I'm as experienced [in racing] as anyone out there, and it caught me out too."

There were those who doubted the cars would be repaired in time for the afternoon's one-hour practice or 20-minute qualifying session, but not team manager Dick Barbour. "Just watch my guys," Barbour said as the cars were brought to the team's pit garage for repairs. "We'll have 'em back out there. Never say die."

The number 6 car made it onto the track at the start of the afternoon's one-hour practice session, the number 5 car was running 15 minutes later. In qualifying Krohn posted a best time on the 1.94-mile, 12-turn course of 1min 16.505sec, for fifth place in the GTS class. Brabham's co-driver Peter Kox recorded a best lap of 1min 12.228sec for the number 5 car, fourth in GTS, despite having to guess which Pirelli tires would best suit the car because of lack of track time. The GM Racing Chevrolet Corvette of Olivier Beretta was fastest in GTS, setting a new record of 1min 9.981sec.

Krohn's co-driver this weekend is Nic Jonsson, the 36-yer-old Atlanta-based Swede who scored his first-career victory in an SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race at Infineon Raceway, California, last weekend. Jonsson said: "I'm really excited about this drive. Krohn-Barbour Racing is a really professional team, Dick Barbour is a proven winner, and Lamborghini makes great cars. I know the car's not yet had all the testing and development it needs, because it's new, but it'll be good experience for me."

Sunday's Portland Grand Prix, round five of nine in the ALMS, starts at 1pm local time and runs for two-hours 45-minutes.

-kbr-

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Series ALMS