Both Krohn-Barbour Racing Lamborghinis had third place in their sights in the hotly-contested GTS class in Sunday's fifth round of the American Le Mans Series at Portland International Raceway, Oregon, but ultimately both were deprived of a ...
Both Krohn-Barbour Racing Lamborghinis had third place in their sights in the hotly-contested GTS class in Sunday's fifth round of the American Le Mans Series at Portland International Raceway, Oregon, but ultimately both were deprived of a finish.
After nearly two hours of the two-hour 45-minute Portland Grand Prix, the number 5 Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT of David Brabham and Peter Kox was chasing the Saleen S7R of Johnny Mowlem/Terry Borcheller for third place. But as Kox lapped the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GTR of Timo Bernhard/Jorg Bergmeister on the inside line going into Turn One, the Porsche turned in too early and hit the left rear corner of the Lamborghini, damaging its rear suspension and forcing retirement.
Kox said: "It's a shame, because we were going really well, staying with the Saleen. We were working through traffic and when I came up behind the Porsche on the pits straight I flashed my headlamps several times. I was nearly all the way past, on the inside, and really thought it [the passing maneuver] was finished, when he hit me really hard."
The surviving number 6 Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT of Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson could also see third place within its reach, after two hours and 22 minutes of racing, when the Saleen slowed by 25 seconds per lap with an engine problem. But Krohn had been experiencing gearbox downshift problems and these worsened on the lap that Jonsson took over the Lamborghini for the race's final stint, forcing the Swedish driver to bring the car slowly to the pits and retirement.
Krohn said: "The gearbox was playing up on downshifts for some time, but it was always a mystery. Sometimes it'd go in, sometimes it wouldn't. I tried doing the whole lap just in third and fourth, I tried going around in fourth and fifth. I couldn't tell the team what was going on because we lost our [car-to-pits] radio. We also lost our [rear-view] camera. So I couldn't shift, I couldn't see - it was a pretty tough outing!"
Jonsson, who was standing-in for Scott Maxwell at this race, commented: "After I went out of the pits, I got up to third okay, then I couldn't downshift. I got fourth and fifth on the back straightaway, then something else locked up."
Of his first experience of the Lamborghini, which made its US racing debut just four weeks ago, Jonsson said: "The car was more physical than I thought it would be, especially the steering, but it's very direct, very responsive. Krohn-Barbour Racing is very professional and the Lamborghini has huge potential. With a serious test program, it'll be good."
The Lamborghinis of Brabham/Kox and Krohn/Jonsson completed 103 laps and 91 laps respectively before halting; the third-placed Saleen ran 113 laps to the finish. The GM Racing Chevrolet Corvettes of Ron Fellows/Johnny O'Connell and Oliver Gavin/Olivier Beretta placed first and second in the GTS-class and third and fourth overall, on 135 and 133 laps.
The Portland Grand Prix was won outright by the Audi R8 of JJ Lehto/Marco Werner (141 laps) from the Lola EX257 of James Weaver/Butch Leitzinger (1min 8.446sec behind).