Brno: Balfe Motorsport race report

BALFE UNABLE TO REACH CZECHERED FLAG AT BRNO The Balfe Motorsport team was forced to retire from the second round of the FIA GT Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic at the weekend with an engine misfire. The BSA Design backed squad...

BALFE UNABLE TO REACH CZECHERED FLAG AT BRNO

The Balfe Motorsport team was forced to retire from the second round of the FIA GT Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic at the weekend with an engine misfire.

The BSA Design backed squad had made improvements to the Saleen S7R between the opening round at Silverstone and Brno. A more responsive and better handling car gave drivers Shaun Balfe and Jamie Derbyshire optimism for the race.

However, there were still a handful of issues that the team had been unable to address in the short space of time between the two races and a lack of outright pace was evident during the course of the meeting.

A solid start by Balfe kept him in touch with the rest of the GT1 cars in the opening laps. He also took advantage of a couple of the front running cars making mistakes and running into the gravel traps to make up a couple of places.

As the first hour of the three-hour race ticked by he handed the car over to Jamie Derbyshire. The first half of Jamie's stint went well, with him settling into his run quickly. But, he radioed the team to say that he was feeling a loss of power and he was brought into the pits to check on the problem.

A quick check of the engine and data showed a problem and the team brought the car back into the garage and set about changing the spark plugs and leads.

Unfortunately, as Jamie left the pit-lane again he radioed to say that the problem was still there. As a precaution the team decided to retire from the race in case any damage was being done to the engine, meaning its first retirement in over a year.

"It was disappointing to not finish the race, especially after the car ran so reliably at Silverstone," said Shaun Balfe. "There are still issues to overcome with the outright pace of the car. But we weren't going to know whether we'd closed the gap on the rest of the field until we got to Brno."

"The car was definitely an improvement from Silverstone, which is a positive step. We just need to make a few more to be where we want to be. We will definitely be working hard in the long break before the next round at Oschersleben in Germany at the beginning of July. There are a couple of things that we wanted to do before Brno, but time was a limiting factor."

"We certainly don't intend to stand still between now and then. This is effectively the World Championship of GT racing and we know that we're up against some of the best teams there are. We intend to show that we can run with them and be competitive and that will be the aim at the next round," he added.

-bms-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Shaun Balfe , Jamie Derbyshire