Michele Rugolo qualified second fastest among the LMGTE Am runners for the Six Hours of Fuji FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) race.
Rugolo took to the Fuji International Speedway track chasing the pole time laid down by Larbre Competition driver Jean-Phillipe Belloc in #70 Corvette. Rugolo and teammates Nic Jonsson and team owner Tracy Krohn took advantage of the extra track time available in the days running up to the race to help hone the set up on the Ferrari 458. Of the three drivers in the Krohn Racing car only Jonsson has raced at Fuji before – and that in a previous configuration.
“Qualifying was okay,” assessed Rugolo. “We knew that the Corvette was very quick, but we are not really off the pace. Three-tenths is not so bad and we are also very close to the GTE-Pro drivers. We are one and a half second off the pole position of the Pro cars, so that’s pretty good. I think the car is going to be consistent in the race. It’s not very difficult to drive. We were just discussing how everything at Fuji is very well organized. They are really appreciating the race here so they are very welcoming. I think this is important for WEC. We are racing at all very new circuits where they are putting a lot of effort to make this championship grow so it’s very good.”
As well was testing on Wednesday the Krohn team also hosted a group of local children, Tracy Krohn and the team introducing them to the Ferrari race car, as well as giving them the chance to view a driver change up close during the free practice sessions. The childrens’ visit was organised by Keiko Ihara, driver with the Gulf Racing Middle East LMP2 squad.
“Our car is much better today than it was yesterday,” said Krohn after qualifying. “We worked on a little bit of rear grip issues that we had so I the car is actually quite good right now. I think for the race we have got what we need in the car. Michele did an excellent job in qualifying. Unfortunately, at Turn 3 some of the cars were throwing up some dirt on the track, which I think inhibited his ability to qualify higher, perhaps even on the pole. He’s nearly on the pole anyway though. I’m very pleased with his performance and I’m very pleased with the team’s performance.”