Krohn Racing - 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona 12 Hour Race Report
Daytona, At the 12 hour mark of the Rolex 24 at Daytona race, the top four cars are on the lead lap, including the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Proto-Auto Lola. There have been a total of 15 cautions for 47 laps and 36 lead changes among 13 cars, including the Krohn entry.
The running order was as follows: P1- No. 9 Action Express Porsche Riley, P2 – No. 01 Ganassi BMW Riley, P3 – No. 5 Action Express Porsche Riley and No. 76 Krohn Racing Proto-Auto Lola.
Nicolas Minassian narrowly missed a big accident when the No. 90 DP car spun into the wall coming out of the “bus stop”. Minassian ran over some of the bodywork pieces and punctured a tire. He was called into the pits within seconds when a crewmember spotted the failing tire pressure numbers on the telemetry in the pits.
Nicolas Minassian, Driver, #76 Krohn Racing Ford Proto-Auto Lola: “That was wild. That was unbelievable; there’s lots of touching and pushing. Even if you’re fast enough somebody is very difficult to overtake sometimes, so you’ve just got to go fast to go by. It’s a long time since I’ve done racing like that; it’s good fun. The only problem we had was we got the pressure wrong with the car, it was way too high. The car was real a handful to drive, so I really struggled in my second stint to keep the car on the track every lap. It was tough; it was really tough. We got our lap back and we’re back on the lead lap and I’m sure we’ll look after the pressure the next time and we should be alright.”
TALK ABOUT HOW THE MOTOR IS RUNNING. “It is very lean, very good. You don’t feel any difference with it from the start to finish, that’s very good. That’s what you want. You want an engine that will stay at peak all the time and that’s what it does. It’s very good in the straight. I never got anybody overtaking me in the straights, so we’ve got good straight line speed. It is very consistent and drivable as well. All is good.”
HOW IS THE TRAFFIC? “The traffic takes a little bit of getting used to it. My first stint was a bit tough because I tried to be careful. In my second stint, I got into the groove and it was okay. You just have to understand which car is really bad (out on the track) and which ones are better. Once you got that, it’s okay, you know where to pass and you know where the grip is. It’s very good fun; I enjoy it. I like all the traffic, which is part of the race. That’s what makes it even more difficult but fun.”
Minassian turned over the wheel of the Ford-powered Proto-Auto chassis to Ricardo Zonta at approximately Lap 217, at 10:45 p.m. ET. He drove under several cautions, including one when the Krohn Racing team pitted for a new nose, front headlight repair and scheduled brake pads.
Ricardo Zonta, Driver, #76 Krohn Racing Ford Proto-Auto Lola: “The stint was quite difficult because we don’t have the quickest car and we tried to deal with the leaders. It was quite good for us because we got back the lap we lost on the first stage of the race. Now we are on the same lap as the leaders. The car is quite difficult to drive. We are fighting a lot with the car.”
WHAT ARE YOU FIGHTING ON THE CAR? “Low grip.”
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO DURING YOUR BREAK? “We’re going to do some massage, eat something and sleep a little bit.”
Jönsson suffered the only Krohn Racing penalty of the race so far, when he and the No. 23 car touched. GRAND-AM officials assessed a drive through penalty to Jönsson, although he disputed it.
Nic Jönsson, Driver, #76 Krohn Racing Ford Proto-Auto Lola: “This stint was actually quite good. The car is much better than it was in my 2nd stint. It must have been something wrong with those tires probably because the balance is back like the first stint I ran. We can run mid- to high 42’s, which is pretty much what the leaders are doing right now. I think we have a car that can be in contention now for many hours and into the middle of the day. It’s still a matter of staying clean out there. People are doing a lot of crazy stuff. I don’t think they look in the mirrors. They don’t all realize this is a 24-hour race. Some people are not really using their head out there.”
WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE PENALTY? “So far we got one penalty for a drive through. I had a little contact with the 23 car, which I don’t know how I got a penalty for it, but that’s one of those things.”
WHAT’S GOING ON NOW? “We just recouped from that and got back up there to fourth right now with Tracy in the car and he’s doing a real good job. The team has been doing a really good job so far with all the pit stops. We changed brakes once. All the pit stops have been going as planned for our scheduled pit stops so that’s good. Hopefully it will stay that way.”
WHAT WILL BE THE MOST CHALLENGING THING FOR THE LAST 12 HOURS? “I think it’s to stay clean basically and not have any mishaps. The last few laps that I was just out there somebody had dropped oil on the track and I almost lost the car three times on one lap. It was more luck than anything else that I didn’t go off or hit something. The 90 car was right in front of me and it also had a couple of really difficult moments. Finally he just went straight off in Turn Five when he hit the oil there. There’s nothing you can do. I almost spun going in the esses between (Turns) one and three. The same thing happened through the kink and again coming off (Turn) six. It was just pure reflexes that saved the car. You can’t throw the races away. It’s very difficult. You can see it a little better when the sun comes up. If that happens again, we hope we can avoid it. So we hope to stay clean and avoid trouble to keep the car in as good of shape as possible for the last couple or three hours. If we do, I think we can be in good shape.”