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Indy Lights - Krohn Race Report

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BALTIMORE, Sept. 6, 2011: If Sunday’s Baltimore Grand Prix Firestone Indy Lights race would have been just four laps shorter rookie Anders Krohn would have won his first race in the series. Unfortunately the Viking made one small mistake on a lap 31 restart while leading, and he ended up sixth at the checkered.

Right until the end Krohn was definitely in line for a podium finish.

The Houston-based driver qualified fifth and ran in that spot for the first three laps in Belardi Auto Racing’s Liberty Engineering Racing Special No. 9. He moved up to fourth place on lap four after Peter Dempsey spun in Turn 6 while running third. Krohn held fourth for five laps and then he advanced to third on lap nine when the eventual winner, Gustavo Yacaman, made a mistake in Turn 3.

Krohn ran most of the race in third place. He held that position for 17 laps, recording very consistent times on the very demanding course. He moved into second when reportedly something broke on the car of the polesitter and early leader, Conor Daly, causing Daly to spin. That moved Krohn up to second place on lap 26 with his No. 9, which is sponsored by Liberty Engineering, Logi Trans Offshore Express, Trallfa, PM International Suppliers, Allied Building Products, ZAT Graphics, Eagles Canyon Raceway, OMP and Bell Helmets.

Second was fabulous, but everyone in Krohn’s hometown of Stavanger, Norway who was following the race on really got excited when the leader, Esteban Guerrieri, spun and crashed in the hairpin on lap 28, which gave Krohn the lead on lap 29.

Guerrieri’s spin was just one of several mistakes made by the front-runners on the very demanding 2.04-mile, 12-turn street circuit. Krohn led for three laps, but on the restart on lap 31 he made a rare mistake too and locked up his brakes heading into Turn 1, which forced him to go down a run-off area off the turn. Luckily the car was unscathed and Krohn was able to rejoin the field in sixth place, and that’s where he finished.

Yacaman, one of the few veterans in the field, inherited the lead at that point and went on to win the race over Josef Newgarden, who virtually clinched the championship. Victor Carbone ended up third.

Krohn’s fastest lap during the race was posted on lap 21 when he was in third place, trying to catch Guerrieri while holding off Yacaman. It was a 1:26.8516 (84.558 miles per hour). He qualified fifth with a 1:28.7689 (82.732 mph) in a rainy session on Saturday.

“This is easily the biggest mistake of my career,” Krohn said later. “Belardi Auto Racing and I were running such a strong race, and were just capitalizing on mistakes made by others. With a few laps remaining I got into the lead and had a massive gap to P2, but then the safety car came out.

“I got a great jump on the restart and had no pressure from behind, so I decided to brake a bit earlier than normal for Turn 1. In doing so I hit a bump the wrong way, the front wheels locked up and I went straight off the track. We managed to get going again and finished sixth, but the win was gone.

“I feel terrible because I robbed my team of their first win in Firestone Indy Lights and I feel like I let my sponsors and supporters down. I would like to thank Belardi Auto Racing, Liberty Engineering, Logi Trans and all my other sponsors for all they have done for me, and I hope we can get them the podium they deserve soon.

“Although we didn’t get the results we wanted here, the Baltimore event surpassed any and all expectations,” Krohn added. “The fans are possibly the best I've ever met and the place was packed from Friday morning through Sunday evening. On Friday I spent a combined five hours signing autographs, and never before have I run out of hero cards in one single day at an event. I'm so impressed with the people here who supported this event the way they did. The track was a lot of fun, the city was welcoming, and the people were amazing. I cannot wait to come back and try again!”