Balfe Maintains Championship Momentum in Jarama Balfe Motorsport scored another impressive result round two of the Spanish GT Championship at the former Grand Prix circuit of Jarama near Madrid today (Sunday May 23). The Newark Glass...
Balfe Maintains Championship Momentum in Jarama
Balfe Motorsport scored another impressive result round two of the Spanish GT Championship at the former Grand Prix circuit of Jarama near Madrid today (Sunday May 23).
The Newark Glass Group backed squad scored a superb second place in race two, after battling to seventh place in the opening race earlier in the day. The result keeps driver Shaun Balfe and Nigel Taylor in the title hunt, in second place, just eight points behind their rivals Miguel De Castro and Angel Burgueno in the more powerful Marcos LM600.
Nigel Taylor started the second race in slightly damp conditions following a brief rain shower. A poor start meant he had dropped back down to seventh on the opening lap from fourth place on the grid. A rival Porsche spun into the barriers at the final corner at the end of the same lap, brining out the safety car. A fantastic couple of laps after the re-start saw him dispatch two GT2 Porsches and move back into fourth place.
A perfectly timed pit-stop by the team put Balfe back into the race in second place. However, the De Castro/Burgueno Marcos was just too powerful for Balfe to keep behind and he had to briefly concede second. The other Marcos of former FIA GT and Le Mans racer Cor Euser was soon in Balfe's sights though. He fought with the Dutchman for a handful of laps before being given the message from his pit-crew that Euser had been given a one-lap penalty.
With the pressure off he followed the Marcos across the line, safe in the knowledge that another top result was under the team's belt at this early stage in the season.
"We are really pleased with the way the weekend has gone," said Balfe. "We arrived on Thursday and had to start from scratch and play catch-up to everyone else on the grid as we had never been here before."
"We struggled a little in testing but found the right pace in qualifying and picked up another couple of good results, which keeps us in the race for the Spanish Championship, he added. "It is exactly what we wanted to do this weekend. We thought that a couple of top six results would be okay for us, but we did everything properly and were there at the end again."
The team was put under more pressure during the course of the weekend when the first race, scheduled for Saturday evening, was cancelled due to a heavy thunderstorm. The result was two-feet of water on sections of the track and the organisers decided to move the race to Sunday afternoon.
Time was tight between the two races. However, the Balfe crew worked tirelessly to have the Mosler MT900R checked and ready to go for race two.
"The time between the two races just flew past," said Balfe. "The rain just before the second race was just another thing that made it such a dramatic weekend. No-one knew whether to go for wet or slick tyres and with the work we had to do to check over the car from race one it was just added pressure. But we dealt with it and the results made it all worthwhile."
The team now has a five week break before round three of the series takes place, at another former Grand Prix venue, the Estoril circuit in Portugal on 25-27 June.