Imola: Balfe Motorsport race report

BALFE TAKES THE HEAT FOR THIRD AT IMOLA The Balfe Motorsport team took a fantastic and hard fought third place in the GT2/G2 class of the FIA GT Championship at an incredibly hot Imola race circuit on Sunday. Drivers Shaun Balfe and...

BALFE TAKES THE HEAT FOR THIRD AT IMOLA

The Balfe Motorsport team took a fantastic and hard fought third place in the GT2/G2 class of the FIA GT Championship at an incredibly hot Imola race circuit on Sunday.

Drivers Shaun Balfe and Jamie Derbyshire suffered from heat exhaustion as temperatures in the cockpit of the Mosler MT900R soared above 50 degrees during the three-hour race. With many drivers collapsing from the heat it was a battle against the elements to reach the chequered flag.

A sterling effort meant that the team scored its second podium result in as many races, once again being the only team to get near the factory Porsche squad over the course of the weekend.

"I've never experienced heat and conditions like that before," said Balfe afterwards. "I've never asked to get out of a race car ever. But I had to ask the team over the radio to let me finish my opening stint early, I just couldn't carry on driving at the limit for that amount of time."

"I froze my drink bottle overnight and started with it solid at the start of the race. I went to take a drink about six laps into the race, expecting it to be cool and it scalded my mouth. I then dragged the tube from my helmet, but because it had started to syphon from the bottle it poured onto my race suit. It just felt like someone had poured a recently boiled kettle onto my lap," he explained.

His driving partner, Jamie Derbyshire suffered the same fate after his opening stint, leaving Balfe with another session at the wheel. As Derbyshire struggled to overcome the effects of the heat it looked like Shaun might have had to limp to the finish, with the possibility of losing third place to the chasing GT2 class cars.

However, Derbyshire managed to take to the wheel and crossed the line to take the second podium result for the team in its first season in the international series.

"It has been a tough weekend for all of the team," said Balfe. "It was a case of just getting ourselves to the finish today. We knew that we weren't going to be able to challenge the Porsches. But, we made sure that we beat the other privateers and the car ran faultlessly in the heat. It was just the drivers that struggled this weekend!" he added.

The team will be back in action at three weeks time as it takes on the twists and turns of the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic.

-bms-

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