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22/01/2009 - Krohn Racing Revs Up for Rolex 24 At Daytona

2009 - Daytona 24

ERIC VAN DE POELE, Driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:

Krohn Racing had a very successful test this month. Do you feel with the advancement of the Proto-Auto Lola chassis and the new Roush-Yates Ford that you have the car to beat at this year's Rolex 24 race?

“It will be the first time we are going to do 24 hours with this car, the Proto-Auto Lola. So, even though all tests and races last year the two cars have been very reliable, 24 hours is always a very hard challenge. I believe that we are ready for this, and believe very much in the combination of Lola-Ford with Krohn Racing.”

How tough is the competition going to be this year and why?“It is always very hard because everyone wants this victory. We have definitely better chance than last year but to win a 24 hour race with such good teams around is incredibly difficult. We need speed, chance, consistency, intelligence, motivation and a lot of discipline. When all goes well together, we get 10 more percent of a chance to win the race.”

With all your endurance racing experience, how do you balance between driving hard for the win and pacing yourself to save the car for the entire race and your teammates?“In a 24 hour race, the key is to try not to lose time. The problems come when you begin to try to gain time on the competition for different reasons. And it is exactly at that time that you need discipline for knowing your pace of speed. Practice is very important because all of the team must be psychologically and physically quiet between practices and race. It means, if you have wrong pre-race practice with a lot of work for the mechanics, it is not a good start.

It's also very important to feel in the car when it is the right moment to be more aggressive with the car. It must be when you really have a good rhythm, the car and tires give you 100% confidence, and then only there you can force yourself a bit for taking advantage of the conditions. If you do that at the wrong moment, there is a big chance of mistake and then the race could be over. Never drop in the "over-drive", this is discipline.

What do you enjoy the most and what do you dislike about a 24-hour race?

“I do not really like 24 hour races because it's too long. 12 hours is my favorite distance for endurance race. In general, I prefer sprint races as we have in the Championship.

For me the 24-hour race could have a sense if it gave the same hard challenge for the car then for the drivers. I want say that we do a championship for two drivers per car and the 24 Hour race is part of this hard championship. My dream is to win a 24 Hour race with two drivers like in the past. Then, we can speak about heroes. When a car failed, the race is over. It should be the same for the human fact. But I know that not many people think like me, but I have a huge admiration for all those past drivers who won 24 hour races with two drivers per car.

And what I love in the 24-hour race is the emotions in general. There is nothing better than to cross the line and to see the emotions of the team to reach this goal. There are so many people working for the same goal, from the kitchen, through the doctors, physios, mechanics, PR, engineers, spotters and even more that I forget. When you cross the line and you can offer to all these people the joy of a victory. It is the best satisfaction and present you can give. Even when you finish last, the effort has always been huge and everybody tries not to cry, but with the very long week behind it is very difficult to avoid that. I love this moment!”

The 47th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida will be televised live on Saturday, January 24th from 3:00 p.m.-4:30 ET on FOX Sports and then moving to a live broadcast on SPEED from 4:30-10:00 p.m. ET. Coverage will resume on Sunday, January 25th from 7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. ET. For more information, please see www.grand-am.com or www.krohnracing.net.

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