The No. 57 Krohn Racing GTE-Am Team had high hopes for a podium finish at the 6 Hours of Paulo race at the Interlagos circuit today. Those hopes were dashed on the first lap when Krohn starting driver Michele Rugolo had no place to go when two Prototypes spun in Turn Four. He ended up punting the rear of the No. 61 Ferrari. The resulting damage was severe to the chassis, causing the popular team to retire after a thorough assessment of the damage.
Saturday’s Round 5 race of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship at Interlagos was a race the Krohn Team though they had the car to beat. After qualifying second and feeling they had a well-thought strategy, the team’s mood was upbeat at race start.
MICHELE RUGOLO, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
“I had a very good start and on the first corner I was leading, but I didn’t want to take any risks so I let the other car pass. In turn four, it was very packed and there were two prototypes spun in front of us. Bernoldi (in No. 61 Ferrari) was directly behind a prototype that braked to avoid the spinners. I was already very close to Bernoldi’s Ferrari and as he hit the prototype, I hit him and he flew over the prototype! I was so very close behind and couldn’t avoid him. I had hoped that the mechanics could fix my damaged car but the damage is too great.”
DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager/Race Engineer:
“The damage is so extensive, including some damage to the chassis that prevents us from fitting the parts to replace the ones that are broken. There’s not actually room to put them in the car because it’s so deformed at the front. We are going to have to cut out a piece of chassis and put a new piece of chassis in Bahrain to build the car up. We are bitterly disappointed! We thought we had a really good shot at this race.”
TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
“We don’t have many DNFs (did not finish) and this is just one of those unfortunate parts of racing. We’ve got three races left so we hope to win the next three. I have seen the in car video of the incident and poor Michele had no chance to avoid the Ferrari in front of him. This is only the third time Krohn Racing has retired from a race in four years so we accept today as part of our sports risks.”
NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:
“It was unfortunate that we got involved in an accident on the first lap at turn Four. There were a bunch of cars that spun coming off turn four. We just caught up in that incident and there was nothing we really could have done. It was just one of those racing incidents that happen once in a while. Unfortunately, it took us out of the race this time. Obviously it gave us a bigger deficit in the points for the championship now. We’re going to go to Bahrain and keep digging and not give up because we have had bad luck, the other teams can also have bad luck. Hopefully, the luck will turn around for us at Bahrain and we’ll go there strong. We had a very good car today and had a good chance to be competing out front. Unfortunately we didn’t really have a chance to show that because of the crash we had. We’ll go back in Bahrain strong again and we’re looking forward to that.”
JEFF HAZELL, Krohn Racing Motorsport Manager:
“The assessment of the damage is that the chassis cross member that supports the front splitter bracket is severely bent. Bending it back is going to fail it, so we therefore would have nothing to secure the front splitter. If you run without a front splitter you will probably get clearance from the airport (car will get airborne). We had to park the car. We will freight out the chassis components to Bahrain and install them there. I don’t see any difficulty as long as they clear customs okay. It was one of those days. We don’t retire a car very often. Nobody was hurt and this type of incident is just a part of going motor racing.”
Tracy Krohn also raced in the Porsche GT3 Challenge Cup Brazil Saturday morning. A first-lap crash that caught numerous competitors out affected Krohn but he was able to continue on after a right rear tire change. He competed in the series in order to get extra time on the complex Sao Paulo circuit and thoroughly enjoyed the experience despite the on-track issues.
TRACY W. KROHN, Driver of the No. 76 Porsche GT3 Challenge Cup Brazil:
“The Porsche Challenge group is a great bunch of guys to race with. Porsche did an excellent job getting my car ready for the race, particularly after the crash in qualifying yesterday. It was unfortunate they had a bad incident on the straightaway between turns three and four. I got into it in the back part and I couldn’t see anything. I was slowing down and finally there was too much mud on the track and I got backed into the wall trying to slow. I was able to get it restarted. The right rear was vibrating a little bit and I finally got to the pits where I think they changed the right rear tire. I got back out and we all finally got a couple of laps in under green and then the race was over. There were cars falling off even right after the green flag fell again, maybe four or five of them off. It was quite an eventful race!”
The next round of the 2012 WEC will be the 6 Hours of Bahrain, Saturday, September 29 at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Middle East.
(Photo: Krohn Racing)