Balfe Motorsport Dijon test 2006-04-17

BALFE TEAM OVERCOMES TESTING TROUBLES AT DIJON The Balfe Motorsport team managed to overcome a gearbox problem at the start of the two day FIA GT test at Dijon in France last week, coming away from the event in a positive mood in the run up...

BALFE TEAM OVERCOMES TESTING TROUBLES AT DIJON

The Balfe Motorsport team managed to overcome a gearbox problem at the start of the two day FIA GT test at Dijon in France last week, coming away from the event in a positive mood in the run up to the opening round of the championship next month.

The test was the first chance the team had to go up against its GT1 rivals this season. However, a gearbox component failed after just a handful of laps into the first session. It was a frustrating start to the test for the squad, which wanted to get as much track time as possible to work on the set-up of what is still a new car to it.

A handful of calls back to the UK were made once the problem had been traced and a new part was driven to the circuit overnight, ready for the team to install in time for the start of the morning session on day two.

In damp but drying conditions the Saleen S7R was immediately impressive, with Jamie Derbyshire initially matching the times of the pace setting Maserati's and Aston Martin's, before new signing Neil Cunningham topped the timing screens just before lunch. Two cars went faster just before the session came to an end, but the team as buoyed by the early pace after the dramas of the previous day.

Shaun Balfe took to the wheel after the midday break, although a couple of small problems meant he had to return to the pits for checks on the car. However, he was pleased with the package the team has and the way the squad handled the initial set-back.

"It was certainly hard work over the two days, especially for the guys in the garage," he said. "They started at 4am on day two to have the car ready for the morning session and it was literally ready for Jamie to climb in and pull out of the pit-lane, they did a great job,"

"When Neil put the car at the top of the times just before lunch it was just what the guys needed. We know that it wasn't the ultimate pace of the test, but it showed that we are in the right area and we can work on improving from here. I'm certainly more positive that we can offer a competitive package against the rest of the GT1 teams over the course of the season," he added.

-bms-

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