FIRST POINTS FOR BALFE FROM POSITIVE GERMAN WEEKEND The Balfe Motorsport Team scored its first point in the FIA GT Championship at Oschersleben in Germany at the weekend, after crossing the line in eighth place after three hours of ...
FIRST POINTS FOR BALFE FROM POSITIVE GERMAN WEEKEND
The Balfe Motorsport Team scored its first point in the FIA GT Championship at Oschersleben in Germany at the weekend, after crossing the line in eighth place after three hours of racing.
The Newark Glass Group backed team was buoyed by the pace of its Saleen S7R over the course of the weekend, allowing drivers Shaun Balfe and Jamie Derbyshire to work their way further up the timesheets during the free practice sessions.
Incredibly hot conditions meant that the two drivers had to work hard to bring the car home for a finish and a single championship point, an over-heating engine being the major issue for them during the race.
"We're incredibly pleased to have finally chalked up our first point at this level," said Shaun Balfe. "People might think that an eighth place result and a single point is not worthwhile. But this is the premier league of GT racing, there are no weak teams out there, so to be in the points is certainly a step forward for us," he added.
Some major improvements have been taking place since the opening round at Silverstone and although the car is still not up to the ultimate qualifying pace, it is close enough to get the team in amongst some of the teams in the top class series.
"We're knocking on the door of the rest of the grid, in terms of pace," added Balfe. "We struggled to get the car working at the beginning of the year and we're now really at the pace we thought we'd be at Silverstone. But we've solved the problems and there are still a couple of more developments that we can make as the season continues and we hope to be able to take a top six result as soon as possible. It's definitely open to us," he said.
The team was unable to take advantage of the better pace of the car during the qualifying session, when bad luck, firstly with being blocked by rivals cars, then being called into the scrutineering garage for checks, lost them time from the very short 20-minute session.
In the race, a high engine water temperature was the only glitch for the team during the three-hour event. At the second pit-stop the mechanics cleared debris from the front of the car, opening the radiator duct, solving the problem as soon as Shaun went back out onto the circuit.
"We'd hoped to be around sixth or seventh on the grid and we know the time is in the car to do it. We were just unlucky. We can't complain about the end result though, it's what we'd aimed for and it gives the whole team something to build on for the rest of the season," added Shaun.