While Porsche locked out the top three positions in a thrilling Top 30-Qualifying Shootout for the 24 Hours of Nürburgring on Friday evening, fellow German manufacturer BMW were not exactly celebrating as much as those from Stuttgart.
The best of the M6 GT3s ended up tenth on the N24 grid in the form of the Jesse Krohn, Alexander Sims, Connor De Phillippi and Martin Tomczyk driven number 99 Rowe Racing car.
Krohn, who was handed driving duties in Top 30-Qualifying, fell 2.4s short of Laurens Vanthoor’s pole time while the sister number 98 Rowe BMW qualified even further back in 14th in the hands of John Edwards.
Although the dominant display by Porsche has opened up infuriated Balance of Performance talks in the paddock, Krohn says he is more focussed on pushing forward in the race.
With 24 Hours of brutal Green Hell action ahead of the Finn and his co-drivers, Krohn is confident the forecasted inclement weather conditions could play into their hands.
“Tenth was really the max we could do today,” said Krohn. “We had a good lap in a good car, don’t really know where we could improve – the others seem to have more pace here and that was not expected.
“We just have to hope for a clean race, stay out of trouble and hope that the race comes to us. It’s going to be difficult to keep up with some of the cars, but we’ll see.
“Rain can be your enemy and it could be your friend, it depends. We have a good line-up, all the drivers are comfortable in the wet, the car is good in the wet, it’s just always a little bit more of a luck factor when rain comes in with the strategy and when to switch the tyres.
“If you have a good race car and you’re P1-2-3 like Porsche is, then obviously you hope for dry race so you can drive away from the competition, but if you’re not quite there pace wise, then for sure you hope for some mixed conditions that can work in your benefit.”
The 27-year old stressed that neither the Rowe Racing outfit, or BMW is troubled by the qualifying deficit to the front of the field and believes they can claw their way towards the pointy end if the cookie crumbles the right way over the course of the 24 hour race.
“The team is doing a great job, I’m not worried to be fair, but it’s a long race,” added Krohn.
“Qualifying tenth, to be honest, two and a half seconds off the pace is a lot – but we will see, I’m not worried, I’m positive.”
Rowe Racing is a team which is synonymous for their smart strategy, mostly showcased in VLN where they are regular podium finishers.
In April, Krohn himself shared the VLN 2 victory with team mate De Phillippi for Rowe, fighting back after a crashing only a day prior.
A little later in the month, Nicky Catsburg aided the team’s N24 preparations even further after the Dutchman chased his way to finish second in the Nürburgring 24 Hours Qualification Race last month in what has been a positive start to 2018 for Rowe.
Wind the clock back to this time last year where the squad managed to wrangle its way onto the N24 podium in second. The question on everyone’s lips, however, is; ‘can Rowe go one position better this year and claim Green Hell honours’?
It won’t be long until we find out, with the race set to get underway at 15:30 CET.
Miguel Bosch contributed to this report.
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