Balfe Team Gets Sixth After Incident Packed Race The Balfe Motorsport Team took sixth place in its opening Spanish GT race at Albacete yesterday evening (April 24) after leading the event just before the halfway stage. Shaun Balfe started the...
Balfe Team Gets Sixth After Incident Packed Race
The Balfe Motorsport Team took sixth place in its opening Spanish GT race at Albacete yesterday evening (April 24) after leading the event just before the halfway stage.
Shaun Balfe started the race from third on the grid and managed to hold onto the place for the opening laps before a quicker car passed him on the main straight. A slower Porsche was causing the Newark Glass backed driver to lose touch with the leaders and Balfe was keen to stay in sight of the faster cars.
A safety car period helped the team to close the gap once again but the problem of passing the slower driver in front was still there. A superb overtake when racing resumed saw him move back into third place and begin to close the gap to the leading pair with a handful of laps left of his driving stint.
The safety car was scrambled again to help marshals recover a car stopped on the circuit and as the leaders dived into the pits Balfe took over the lead. As racing got underway once again the Mosler MT900R powered into a good lead before Balfe pitted to hand over to team-mate Nigel Taylor.
Although it helped to put the team at the front of the field, the second safety car period also threw out the team's pit-stop strategy and as Taylor went back out on track he was quite a way down the order.
A superb drive saw him gain over 30 seconds on the cars ahead in the closing laps, all while battling with slower cars from other classes around the tight and twisty Spanish venue.
A final fight for fifth position with a slower car in front came just a lap too late as the twisty section of the track meant Taylor had no opportunity to make a move. As he powered out of the last corner it looked like he might snatch the place, but the Ferrari in front covered the line as the pair came to the chequered flag.
"The whole team is pleased with that result," said Balfe afterwards. "We didn't know what to expect results-wise before the first race. We knew that a top six place was definitely possible but to be right on the pace with third on the grid and being able to stay with the leaders is great," he added.
"The race was hard work and the driver in the Porsche at the beginning lost us time, but it was the second safety car period that cost us the most. Although it gave us the lead according to the regulations we are not allowed to do the driver change while it is on the circuit. Some of our rivals did though so we need to get some clarification on the rules. That is one of the small problems of coming into a new championship, especially with the language barrier too!" he said.
The team is now getting ready for the second race of the weekend, which is scheduled to take place at 12:30pm today (Sunday April 25).