Continued podium success for Balfe Motorsport despite heartbreak at Brands Hatch

Balfe Motorsport continued its good run of form in the British GT Championship with a third overall podium of the season as the series visited Brands Hatch in Kent.

After drivers Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell sealed pole position on Saturday afternoon with two fantastic laps in their McLaren 720S GT3, the pair combined once again to cross the line in second place after two hours of racing.

The team was looking at a double podium when the race entered its second hour as GT4 Pro-Am pairing Graham Johnson and Michael O’Brien were running third in class in their McLaren 570S GT4.

Sadly, they were forced to retire when growing mechanical problems caused the car to slow on track, which also means they are mathematically out of the championship hunt with one race left to run.

At the start of the race, Shaun dropped back a few places, but concentrated and started setting good lap times to keep in the hunt, assuming second place when leader Oli Wilkinson spun just before a lenghty Safety Car period.

Rob came out of the pits second after the mandatory stop, and stayed calm under relentless pressure from Jack Mitchell, before pulling a gap in the closing minutes to secure further silverware for the team.

Balfe Motorsport will return to British GT Championship action over the weekend of September 14/15 for the final race of the 2019 season. As ever, fans can find a range of behind-the-scenes content on the teams’ official social media channels.

Shaun Balfe

“It’s not the win we’d hoped for but it’s another podium in the bag. I thought I had a good start but what can you do? I put my foot down but didn’t have enough power to hold the lead. Both the team and the car have been really consistent, with a championship campaign since Oulton Park. We head back to our home track of Donington Park for the final round of the season, where we’re hopeful we can get the win we all deserve for the effort we’ve put in this year.”
 
 Rob Bell

“My stint in the race was interesting. I came out of the pits in second and finished in second so in that respect it was plain sailing, but I had pressure from behind till the chequered flag. Having traffic at this track is never easy as anything can happen, so I just kept concentrating, found where the car was strong, and focused on having a clean end to the race. The tyres did well, and the car felt pretty good, so we’re getting the ingredients sorted, but we haven’t quite got the cake just yet. Let’s see what we can do at Donington.”

Graham Johnson

“It was a really difficult weekend. We’re clearly lacking a bit of speed and we’ve had a bit of a problem mechanically which was evident today because we had to retire. I didn’t have the pace to come through in my stint and the window smashing was probably the most exciting thing to happen! Obviously, it’s sad to lose the Pro-Am title as that’s what mainly what we care about.”
 
Michael O’Brien

“It hasn’t been the best weekend and ultimately we’ve just lost our chance for the Pro-Am title. We were off the pace a little in practice, but we thought the setup was ok. I was pretty happy with my qualifying lap but on the leader board it wasn’t high up which wasn’t great. The race was frustrating because Graham got bottled up by cars in front and had a couple of issues with the car through his stint. He handed over to me and it started well but more issues appeared as time went on before the car gave up, so that ended our race. We don’t know what the problem is yet but hopefully it will all be sorted for the final race.”

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