RISI-KROHN FERRARI POST-RACE REPORT FROM LAGUNA SECA The exciting American Le Mans Series finale race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca saw the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT of Mika Salo and Jamie Melo clinch the ALMS GT2 class Driver and...
RISI-KROHN FERRARI POST-RACE REPORT FROM LAGUNA SECA
The exciting American Le Mans Series finale race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca saw the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT of Mika Salo and Jamie Melo clinch the ALMS GT2 class Driver and Team Championships. Additionally Ferrari grabbed the coveted Manufacturer's Championship. The No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT, with pilots Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson, drove a good, solid race, taking eighth place in the hotly contested GT2 class and 21st overall. They started the race from the ninth position in class and 27th overall.
The four-hour race at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca circuit was the finale of the 12-race American Le Mans Series schedule. The green No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari team participated in four of the ALMS races, collecting three Top 10 finishes, and the internationally renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans, where they drove to a remarkable second-place podium finish.The 157-lap race at Laguna Seca was won overall by P1 class drivers Allan McNish and Dindo Capello in the No. 1 Audi R10.
Tracy W. Krohn, owner of Krohn Racing, driver of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT: "The track is probably one of the great tracks in the world. This is a really fun track to drive. It's always interesting. It changes every lap. As the weather changes, the track changes. The track was magnificent. It's just got its own type of elegance.
As far as the race is concerned, I think we started out pretty well. We got shoved out by one of the prototypes. I got caught in the "kitty litter" (gravel) out at Turn 4. The difference in the closing speeds with the prototypes is pretty dramatic. They have to rely heavily on aerodynamics to maintain grip so they are constantly diving inside of you to do that. Most of the times you can see them; but sometimes you don't. When you don't you pay a price for it. It's easy for them to get inside of you, but then, by the time you see them and back off, they take away your aerodynamics so you're left without grip. It's a difficult chess game. Sometimes the prototypes are tanks, so when you do get hit, you always take the brunt. These guys are great drivers. I'm pleased and really enjoyed driving in this series. Hopefully we'll continue to do that next year."
Nic Jonsson, driver of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT: "Tracy started the race and did a good job. He got hit, unfortunately. It's so difficult at this track because the closing speeds are so unbelievable. You take a glance in the rear view mirror and nobody is there. Before you know it, you turn in and there are two on top of you. It's so difficult and, unfortunately, Tracy got tapped and stuck in the gravel trap. Then we had some problems when they tried to pull him out and that took forever and we lost quite a few laps and the corner workers damaged the car.
After that, we actually didn't lose any laps. I got in when we got back out there and started running, but I got a penalty for speeding in the pits because it didn't work. Then when another yellow came out, Tracy got back in. Tracy did a great job. The second time in the car, he ran for about two hours and twenty minutes or something like that. He was clicking off really good and consistent laps. He did a really, really good job. The conditions change from one lap to another because runoff areas by the curbs have so much sand. If the wind picks up a little bit you have sand blowing across the track. The changing conditions can really catch you out sometimes. It was a good performance and the Risi Competizione team did a really good job preparing the cars. There were no mechanical issues again and everything worked perfect from day one through the race again. It was just unfortunate that we got hit and couldn't stay on the lead lap. I think pace-wise we were probably a fifth-place car or so today, which I think is very respectable."
Mark Schomann, Race Engineer of the No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430 GT: "Overall, the results aren't a good reflection on the how the day really went. Finishing eighth might not look good on paper but a minor spin by Tracy slightly off into the gravel that was poorly handled by the corner workers ended up putting us seven laps down. From that time on, until the very last lap, we held our own quite well. We probably would have finished in the top four or five if not for the slow rescue out of the sand trap. He just barely slid off the road, barely in the sand. The corner workers put a strap on the tow hook and tried to pull the car sideways. It ripped the tow hook and the gear selector right off the car. The car could have been pushed by hand right back onto the track. Once they ripped the tow hook off, they couldn't figure out how to strap onto it again and it took them seven laps to figure it out. Tracy would have only lost a single lap if it wasn't for the poorly handled situation, which also damaged the car. Then we got two stop-and-go penalties for speeding in pit lane. The reason our speed control system for pit lane did not work is because the sensors got ripped off by the corner workers, with the gearbox. Overall it was a good day for the team. Tracy had a good time and put together a string of good laps. It was a good day.
The icing on the cake for the season was the victory and championships for the Risi Competizione team. Although we dominated the season, we had some woes midway through that made the championship a lot tighter than it really needed to be. Once we finished 70% of the race today, we knew we had the Driver's Championship wrapped up. Then it was just trying to make sure we finished the race fourth or better to get the Manufacturer's Championship for Ferrari. It was never over until the very last lap, which is what made it exciting. To do it all and win the race (in class) on top of the three championships was just perfect."
The next American Le Mans Series event will be the historic 12 Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Florida on March 15, 2008. The Krohn Racing Grand-Am team is expected to participate in the upcoming Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series test days at Daytona International Speedway on November 14-15, 2007.