Balfe back in the driving seat with double victory

Shaun Balfe in action during the Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. Photo supplied.
Shaun Balfe in action during the Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. Photo supplied.

LINCOLNSHIRE racing driver Shaun Balfe climbed back behind the wheel of a GT car for the first time in almost seven years to take two victories at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

The former Britcar 24 Hours winner and Spanish GT Champion got behind the wheel of a brand new Ferrari 458 at the famous Belgian Grand Prix venue for the latest rounds of the Pirelli Ferrari Open Challenge last weekend.

He entered qualifying with no prior testing, putting himself and his Graypaul of Nottingham run machine onto the front row for both of the races, holding pole position for most of the session for race two before being narrowly beaten.

There was confusion at the start of the first race on the Saturday when the start lights were left off until the very last second. As the field surged forward after a brief start procedure Shaun held onto his second place through the first hairpin and followed the leader for the opening lap.

Mid-way through the second lap the leader found some oil on the track, as he slithered wide Shaun managed to take evasive action and powered into the lead and on to victory.

At the start of the second race Shaun managed to get a good run at the start and momentarily held the lead round the first corner. However, he had to concede the place as he and his rival went into Eau Rouge.

Yet by the end of the second lap Shaun had found his way past and pulled away to take victory number two on his return to a closed cockpit racecar.

Despite having raced in Radicals for the last few years, Shaun was delighted to be back behind the wheel of an up-to-date GT spec car, with the 458 right at the cutting edge of the lower GT formula and once again stepping back onto the top step of the podium.

He said: “It’s been a really fun and interesting weekend, we didn’t come here expecting to win both races but I’m very happy with the results, of course.”

“The car was brilliant all weekend. It’s fantastic to drive and I can tell that the game has moved on in terms of GT cars and their performance since I last drove one in anger.

“The racing was really enjoyable and I was really comfortable in the car, I’m definitely keen to do more running and get more seat time in it and see what we can do.”