Daytona 24: Krohn Racing Friday report

The No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley of Nic Jonsson, Ricardo Zonta and Darren Turner will start the 46th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona race from the 15th position. The No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley of Tracy W. Krohn, Eric van de Poele and Oliver...

The No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley of Nic Jonsson, Ricardo Zonta and Darren Turner will start the 46th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona race from the 15th position. The No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley of Tracy W. Krohn, Eric van de Poele and Oliver Gavin will start from the 25th position.

David Brown, Team Manager, Krohn Racing:

"We've spent the bulk of our time trying to get the unfamiliar drivers, who are Darren and Ricardo, seat time. In and amongst that, we've tried to tune the car for the race. Of course, we've done no winter development because we shelved the cars (Rileys) at the end of the last season. We then came here to the test with two Lolas. We only had one after half-way through the first day, so we struggled a bit for laps for the drivers for familiarity and to get the car going quicker. We seem to be better and we think we've got a reasonable race set-up. The drivers now know their way around the track, even in thedark. They also know how the tires work. So we've done most of our homework and now it's just down to doing a solid, reliable, conservative longevity-based job in the race on the part of all the drivers and the team. That's exactly what we're going to set out to do, starting at 1:30 tomorrow afternoon."

Nic Jonsson, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

"Things are coming together. The team has done an outstanding job -- from the engineers, the crew and everybody behind-the-scene. It's been a huge undertaking to get this new Lola program underway this year. There's been a lot to get the cars done and ready for this season. There's been a huge workload on the guys, especially between the test and now. I think the guys have done a fantastic job. The car is running very nicely. Hopefully, it will be running flawlessly for 24 hours, starting tomorrow afternoon. I don't see anybody that can be prepared better than we are. We have great, hard-working guys that know what they're doing. We, as drivers, need to stay out of trouble and hopefully everything works well mechanically for us for 24 hours and I think we'll be in very good shape.

Regarding having two Daytona rookies as teammates:

"Darren and Ricardo may be rookies here at Daytona but they certainly are no rookies in racing. Obviously, they both have tremendous experience and credentials. Both have been running Formula One for several years, along with Le Mans and other endurance races. Unfortunately, they only got a few laps in at the test earlier this month so that limited their time on the track. They are professionals and have been bringing themselves up to speed this week. We've been trying to give them as much track time as possible. I think when they get settled in on their first stint, they'll be on pace. I'm not worried about them at all. If it had been other guys without the experience or credentials they have, I might have been nervous. But with those two guys, I have no worries at all. Last year I ran with Darren at Petit Le Mans in the Ferrari and I ran with Ricardo at Sonoma in the Pontiac Riley and he did an outstanding job there. These guys are very competent. I think we have one of the strongest driver line-ups out there. Even if they haven't had a lot of track time, I think they're going to get out there and show what this team can do."

Ricardo Zonta, Driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

"We are quite happy with the balance we have in the car for the race. I think the week has gone very well. I think we are in quite a good place for the race. Everyone has worked very hard to set-up the car and balance the car as well. I think we are going to have a good car for the race.

Regarding the Daytona circuit:

"It is a difficult circuit to know. I have driven so many places, but here, because of the banking, sometimes you don't know where you are in the track on the banking because it is so similar everywhere. When you arrive at corner one, it is quite difficult to know which banking you are on. When you get used to it, you are fine. Another issue is about the other cars, the slow cars. They don't really look in the mirrors, so it is quite dangerous. This is probably the biggest problem with all the drivers."

Darren Turner, Driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

"This week has been going relatively well. After testing in the Lolas here earlier this month, we've gone back to the team's trusty Rileys for this race. Ricardo and I are getting up to speed; learning the car and learning the circuit. Everything certainly seems to be going in the right direction. The first session we were a couple of seconds off the pace, but as the track becomes more worn in we've been closing in on the pace, so that's good. It's going to be quite an eye-opener in the race because I've done a few laps where there's been quite a lot of traffic. I think once we get out there and everyone is racing, it's going to be quite entertaining. I'm just looking forward to the race starting now. We've done the build-up. We had the testing two weeks ago and we've had a couple of days here now testing. I think everyone -- the drivers, team, everyone -- are now raring to go at the drop of the green flag."

Regarding the Daytona circuit:

"From the very first lap, it's a massive circuit. With the banking, it's different than what I'm used to. It's taken a little bit of time to adjust, although the driver's skill isn't required at all through the banking because you're just flat out. It is just adjusting to being two or three wide with the other cars out there and how close you can get to the wall. I always enjoy racing in America because I find the circuits are more challenging than the majority of the ones back in Europe. They don't have as much run-off, the concrete walls are very close and it makes you have to work that bit harder. There are more bumps, so they are not as refined, but I think that's a good thing. If it's all smooth and perfect, then there's less of a challenge. I like the fact that you really have to think about it; you have to learn the circuit and understand where the bumps are and where the grip is and everything else. For me, I really enjoy learning another circuit and this one is certainly special."

Tracy W. Krohn, Team Owner/Driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

"I think the past couple of days have been very well ordered and planned. We had one incident with the car at the "bus stop". We reviewed it on video and, unfortunately, I don't know what I could have done differently at the time. But it taught us a couple of things. We all learned something as a result of that. -- what not to do and what causes that incident. Other than that the entire week has been to plan. We're right on time. In fact, we're actually a little ahead of schedule. The cars are prepped well. We're very satisfied with the performance of the car. I think we've got an excellent race car and a really good chance for succeeding this year."

Oliver Gavin, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

"Daytona is such an event where you have to do a lot of housekeeping work. One needs to be very prepared with your brakes, tires, and your car. The team has to do a lot of preparation because it's a very, very hard 24-hour race. Basically, that is what we've been doing over the last day and a half...just getting ourselves ready. The car came off of the truck very well prepared and ready set-up wise, so we haven't had to do much of that, which has been good. We might be lacking a little bit of ultimate pace, but, I think, as we found out in our briefing, you don't need to be super, super fast here to have a great result. You just need to be smart. You need to stay out of trouble. You need to have a good team, have good teammates and everyone working on the same game plan. I think we've got a good strategy. I'm looking forward to it."

Eric van de Poele, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

"The result of our qualifying position is the exact opposite of the feeling we have after the full practice because we did all of the programs we wanted to do with the car. Everything is perfectly prepared. At the moment we did driver change practice and all of the stuff we wanted to do for the race. So everything is perfectly ready. I'm very confident, even if the result is not there for the qualifying. We know why and we put the priority for the race."

-credit: kr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Darren Turner , Eric van de Poele , Oliver Gavin , David Brown , Nic Jonsson
Teams Krohn Racing