Balfe Team Takes Fourth Place in Jerez
The Balfe Motorsport team took fourth place in round ten of the Spanish GT Championship in front of 25,000 spectators at Jerez this afternoon (October 10). A win in round nine earlier in the day gives the driver pairing of Shaun Balfe and Nigel Taylor a nine point lead going into the final round at Barcelona next month.
Nigel Taylor started the race from third on the grid and held the position up until he pitted to hand over to Balfe just before the halfway point. Shaun blasted away from the pit-lane in pursuit of the race leaders.
A Ferrari 360 had taken the lead of the race during the driver-change period and Balfe had to scythe through a handful of Porsche's before catching the third placed 911 GT3-RS with just two laps remaining.
On the final lap Balfe had managed to get onto the rear of the Porsche and as the pair exited the final hairpin onto the start/finish straight he was pulling alongside. As the pair crossed the line the circuit timing screens gave away the result, Balfe had crossed the line with exactly the same race time to the Porsche, effectively a dead heat for the final podium place.
However, closer inspection on the times showed that the Mosler MT900R was just thousandths of a second behind the Porsche and had to settle for fourth place after a stunning victory in the first race earlier in the day.
"It was a tough race and I honestly thought I'd got him at the line" said Balfe afterwards. "We had the pace during both qualifying and the races, which was good as in testing on Friday we thought we might be a little bit further back,"
"We are pleased to have been at the sharp end of the grid again this weekend. There has been a couple more Porsche's join the series in the last couple of rounds and it has made it even harder to come to the new tracks and be on the pace right away," he added.
The Balfe team comes away from the Jerez weekend with its lead in the overall championship in the same position as before it started, as its main rivals, the Meycom Marcos Mantara took second place in race two, canceling out the four point advantage the Mosler mounted squad had won in the opening race.
A nine point lead in the series means that the team still has to keep the pressure on its rivals at the final round of the championship, a two-hour endurance event at Barcelona in early November.