2023 has brought Jesse Krohn back to the team where it all started. Taking on the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring with Walkenhorst Motorsport, the Fin has begun his Nürburgring season with victory in NLS2. Alongside last year’s Nordschleife revelation Kuba Giermaziak, Krohn raced his #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 to a mostly unopposed race win.
Crucial for the win were the Yokohama tyres that in the past weren’t up to the task in cold and wet conditions. However, with years of development not in the least by Walkenhorst Motorsport, that has changed.
“Obviously, I’m really happy, winning is great, that’s why we do this,” said Jesse Krohn.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the team and to Yokohama, they’ve really built an awesome tyre and it seems that we can be competitive in all the conditions which is really promising. This weekend in general and all the testing we did in all the conditions was really good preparation for the 24-hour race and I’m really proud of the guys.
“I’ve never driven Yokohamas before so I didn’t know what to expect. I had a blank mind, just wanted to see what it’s like and I’m really impressed. They’ve done a great job in Japan developing the tyre over the last couple of years and it’s really showing. The tyre is now in a really competitive window against anyone.”
Krohn, who was tasked with the second part of the race, had to make quick work of the #911 Manthey EMA Porsche 992 GT3R of Thomas Preining shortly before the final round of pitstops to stay ahead of the #44 BMW Junior Team of Dan Harper. The on-track pass worked, and the 32-year-old BMW works driver was off and away.
“It’s always fun to have to fight for the win, it feels more like a win when you cross the finish line. But always when you have to make the actual pass on-track to win it’s great.
“I had a good run on him. It happened in a place where you normally don’t want to stick your nose in but I had a gap and a side draft on him which pulled him back enough for me to go by in Mutkurve, so it was a fun one. Gladly it wasn’t a longer battle because Harper was catching me, so I had to clear the Porsche as quickly as possible and pull away.”
Despite the win, there is no letting up for the team as the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring is just around the corner.
“There was all the time a little drizzle around the track and here you really don’t want to be flying into places where you start having water on your windscreen while going flat-out and then noticing I have no grip, so you really have to bear that in mind – finishing was the main thing for us. We needed the laps; we needed the experience from the race to build on the 24 Hours.
“I’m here to win the 24 Hours so ultimately all the work in the races before are all preparation and we need to make sure that all aspects of our operation are at a level that we can execute cleanly in the 24 Hours. So far so good, but we still have a lot of work to do and we need to keep pushing because in this competitive field we know that everyone is pushing and, yeah, if you start relaxing after win then they start catching up with you and you are in trouble. We’ll keep pushing and it’s super nice to be back at Walkenhorst.”
As Krohn points out, a lot has changed at the German squad since he last raced with them in 2016.
“It’s been a while and when I got the call that I would be joining the team I was super happy. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for years, we had great success in the past and I always enjoyed driving with them.
“Over the last few years Walkenhorst have really taken the step to the next level and are now one of the top teams so I’m really happy to be part of the operation.”
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