Anders Krohn, the Norwegian racer who won on the Milwaukee Mile and finished sixth in the championship last year, demonstrated that he is much more of a force to be reckoned with in his second season of competition in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
Back with Andersen Racing, the team with which he won the 2008 F2000 championship, Krohn turned a lap of 1:58.053 (112.831mph) in his No. 47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda to claim the inside of the front row for the 12:45pm standing start of Friday's Star Mazda season opener. The time is a new Star Mazda track record; the previous best time was 1:59.986 set by 2007 Series champion Dane Cameron.
"The track is not quite as 'grippy' as it was yesterday, so the times aren't quite as quick as in practice," says Krohn, who qualified sixth and finished 17th in this event last year due to mechanical problems. "But the Andersen team has done a tremendous job to give me such a quick, consistent car and I'm very happy to be starting from my first-ever Star Mazda pole; this is half of the best possible way to start a season; now I just have to complete the second half by winning the race."
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout two days of practice and this morning's qualifying session between Krohn and his Andersen Racing teammates Mikael Grenier and Tristan Vautier. The trio has pretty much controlled the top of the time sheets and will start 1-2-3 in tomorrow's race. Grenier set a time of 1:58.312 (112.584mph) in the No. 17 Andersen Racing/NAPA Auto Parts/CAA-Quebec/HS Telecom Mazda to claim the outside of the front row and Vautier, a rookie to the Star Mazda Championship, turned the third-fast time of 1:58.724 (112.193mph) in his No. 38 Andersen Racing/Moulin TP/Cecibon/Circuit du Laquais Mazda.
Rounding out the top-5 will be Conor Daly, son of F1/Indy car racer Derek Daly, who will start fourth with a lap of 1:58.782 (112/138mph) in his No. 22 Juncos Racing/INDECK/College Network/Merchant Services Ltd./Tom Lange Co. Mazda. Daly, who finished third in the 2009 Star Mazda Championship also finished third in this event last year. His 2009 record also includes a win from the pole at New Jersey and six podium finishes.
Gerry Kraut, the runner-up in the 2009 Star Mazda Master Series (drivers 45 and older) qualified 15th overall with a lap of 2:10.435 (109.627mph) in his No. 55 JDC Motorsports/Dougherty & Co./Dougherty Funding LLC Mazda. Kraut is the CEO of Dougherty & Co. and is co-owner of the championship-winning JDC Motorsports team. The quickest Expert Series (drivers 30-44) driver was J.W. Roberts, who qualified 18th overall with a lap of 2:02.167 (109.031mph) in the No. 65 Team GDT/General Data Tech Mazda. Roberts is the owner of Team GDT and is fielding four cars in the Sebring race. He finished fourth in the Expert Series championship in 2009 after missing most of the season for the birth of his latest child.
The 45-minute race is set for 12:45pm, Friday. The race will be broadcast in tape-delay syndication; visit www.mazdaracing.tv for dates, times and channels.