Watkins Glen II: Krohn Racing preview

A short turn around in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' schedule resulted in most teams moving directly from Montreal, Canada for Round 10 to Watkins Glen, New York for Round 11 this week without returning to their home shops. This...

A short turn around in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' schedule resulted in most teams moving directly from Montreal, Canada for Round 10 to Watkins Glen, New York for Round 11 this week without returning to their home shops. This week's race will be held on Friday, August 8th at the historic Watkins Glen International circuit in Watkins Glen, New York.

The team had a driver change from Eric van de Poele to Oliver Gavin in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola (with owner/driver Tracy Krohn) for the Montreal Grand-Am race, where they finished in the Top 10, their best with the new Proto-Auto Lola. Eric is back with the Krohn team this week following a successful run in the 24 Hours of Spa race in his home country of Belgium last weekend. Van de Poele won his fifth 24 Hours of Spa race, an unprecedented accomplishment.

Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta will pair in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola, seeking their third podium finish of the year. The duo finished 12th last weekend at Montreal. This Friday's race will feature just the Daytona Prototypes, no GT cars. Jonsson and Krohn are previous winners at Watkins Glen in the 2005 6 Hours of the Glen race.

Tracy W. Krohn, team owner/driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:

Tell us about being back at Watkins Glen and on the short course.

"When we were at Watkins Glen in June, we had some positives and a few negatives in that race. I had cool suit and overheating problems but those are all sorted out. Ricardo and Nic had a good drive and Ricardo led for about six laps, but got caught out on a caution that eroded his lead. Regardless, both cars ran well and we were happy with their performance. I predicted that we would have a helluva car for this week's race on the short course and I believe we will. The new Proto-Auto Lola gets better and better every week. This is our tenth race with the Lola and the improvement is amazing. We've had two podiums already and are looking for more before season end. We'd also like to get that first victory under our belt in 2008."

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

Tell us about your victory at Spa. You are now a 5-time winner!!

"The most important was to be the winner. Now it makes number five. The most important is the victory and for the team they were one and two (first and second). I was very impressed by Michael Bartels and his attitude as a manager and as a driver. It is so difficult to do both jobs because he decides everything. We had an incredible team. The preparation of the car, the preparation of the hospitality was so far better than anyone else at Spa. So, of course, it was easier when you have a team like this. I had fantastic teammates (Michael Bartels, Andrea Bertolini and Stephane Sarrazin). We had difficult conditions and the team managed to finish one and two so it was an incredible weekend. Also, all my family was there so that was incredible too. All of my kids were at the race, which is not usually the case."

You come back to the Krohn Racing team invigorated, no doubt, from your big win. The Krohn team also continues to get stronger each race. Share your thoughts.

"Of course, I get 10 times more motivation again to come back to my team of this year. I'm looking forward because I have to admit that I was a little bit jealous to have somebody else in my car. But Oliver (Gavin) did very well. I'm looking forward to try better. My target is to give to Tracy a podium finish before the end of the year. It must happen on like this."

Earlier this year you talked about Watkins Glen being a special track for you. This week you go back there but to the short course. How do you like that version of the circuit?

"For me it will be the first time I'm going to race on the short course version. It's not like a new track because we were there a few weeks ago. It's always good when you feel directly on pace, which is good for us too. Every time we have to learn the car quickly and to try to be competitive as quick as possible. We start from zero on every race track this year with the new Lola. This time at Watkins Glen, we have something in the pocket, so I guess we are going to be more competitive. Even if the layout of the race track is not in our advantage, I hope we can compensate by strategy or by motivation. Definitely by motivation!"

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

Tell us about being back at Watkins Glen and on the short course.

"Watkins Glen is a track where we normally have good luck. Although I think we screwed up the pit strategy a little last time. We normally have a very good car there. Obviously it's going to be the first time for us with the new Proto-Auto Lola on the short track. I think we had a pretty good balanced car there last time on the long course. We'll have to trim the car a little bit more to have the straight-line speed. We'll go there and give it another shot because I think the Krohn team is doing a fantastic job preparing the car. We have a very talented crew and engineers. They'll all done a good job getting the car faster. I think we have all the components in place to go out and win races. We've been on the podium twice with this car. I feel if we have a little good luck, instead of bad luck, I think we are definitely due for a win very soon. We'll try to get it there this time."

Ricardo Zonta, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:

Tell us about being back at Watkins Glen and on the short course.

"I think we had a good car there for the last race. I believe we had bad luck in the race because we had a strategy where we could finish on the podium. I think we will have a good car for that track this week, even on the short course. We'll see if we can finish it on the podium."

Tell us about your thoughts on competing in a race with just the Prototype cars and no GTs."I think it will be good to compete just with the Prototypes. We can go faster and not always be trying to pass the slower GT cars. I will be glad to see how it goes with this type of racing."

David Brown, Team Manager, Krohn Racing:

Tell us about some of the differences between the Watkins Glen long course and the short course and the differences for the cars.

"The car we had at the six hour race was quite competitive for most of the race. We felt we had quite a good car there. The short circuit has far fewer corners but shares the straights. Effectively, you end up with a track which is much more straight-line dependent. The set-up will be biased more towards an oval type of set-up than a road course set-up. I believe there is only one left hand corner. We think we're in with a good chance of having a good race there. It looks like it quite probably will rain, which again, I think is good for us. Rain tends to favor the driver skills. We believe we have a fine combination of drivers to deal with the conditions. We've obviously had a very short turnaround since Montreal but the Proto-Auto Lola has proved to be a robust and reliable car and that helps us to turn the car around quickly."

-credit: kr

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Krohn Racing