22 March 2015
USCC: Fastest lap consolation for Krohn at Sebring
Olivier Pla continued to show the pace of the Krohn Racing Ligieer-Judd, despite its hopes of adding victory to pole being dashed at Sebring.
The pole-winning Krohn Racing team finished sixth in the prototype class in Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, but claimed the race's fastest lap as a consolation for not being able to translate its qualifying speed into a podium finish.
Olivier Pla, the French development driver for Onroak Automotive on the Ligier chassis, qualified the #57 Krohn Racing Ligier JSP2 prototype on the pole, and subsequently followed up his fastest qualifying lap by twice setting the fastest race lap. Pla's best lap time was 1min 52.261secs, which he set on the seventh of 20 laps he led during the once-round-the-clock event.
Despite his efforts, and those of his team-mates, the Krohn team – which was the only LMP2 entrant still standing at the end – came home six laps down on the overall winner. Although it ran a near-flawless race, contact on pit road at the hands of another car and a brief on-track incident during the first half of the race cost vital time and while, by the sixth hour, it was making steady progress to gain back crucial positioning, completing the second half of the race with no further incidents still only merited sixth spot in the final result.
"We can only be disappointed,” Pla commented, “but we have to accept it because it's motorsports. Fortunately the car was fantastic and the team did a fantastic job and it was a pleasure to work with them since Daytona. Coming here, I knew we had the pace and a good car. We got the pole and that was really good. It was also good to be leading the pace from qualifying and then to put a gap on it. It's just a shame of the end result."
Despite the result being a step up on its Daytona performance, team owner Tracy Krohn remained frustrated at the outcome, especially having lost time to incidents not of the team's making, but was optimistic about the year ahead.
" We had the car on the pole and had the quickest lap, and the car was actually quite good throughout the race,” he noted, “We just had a very bad incident on pit-road, [which] wasn't my doing and cost us several laps. We were the lead LMP2 car, and had a real shot at winning this, and I think that bodes well for the rest of the year.
“We have to put this behind us. We've got the rest of the season and the real season begins in April at Silverstone for us. We are definitely moving in the right way. We've got a great car and a really great team. I think everybody was pretty stoked when Olivier put it on pole here and finally got to see the fruits of their labour.
“The next few races are over in Europe with tracks that will be a little gentler on the car. However, it was really good to come and do testing here because we will have a good idea of what will break and what won't. The car didn't break, it just got hit."
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