Class victory for Balfe duo

GT4 McLaren 570S
GT4 McLaren 570S

Fulbeck’s Balfe Motorsport began their British GT Championship at Oulton Park - with mixed results.

While Graham Johnson and Michael O’Brien’s GT4 McLaren 570S secured a class victory, Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell were unable to compete.

There had been some testing with their new McLaren 720 but, compared with their rivals, it had been minimal.

A recurring electrical problem came to a head during the official qualifying session when Balfe took part in the morning session.

Co-driver Bell was due to go out in the second session but due to the re-starting of the engine and a clutch problem, he said: “Unfortunately, an ongoing but intermittent electrical power cut problem couldn’t be traced or fixed in time for the race.

“We decided it would be unfair and unsafe to present the McLaren 720 into its British GT debut with this issue.”

Although the team’s GT4 McLaren 570S had problems of its own in qualifying, they came through strongly in both races.

In race one, Johnson started from the very back of the grid before handing to O’Brien.

But after the one-hour race had climbed to eighth place in the GT4 from 19th overall.

It was O’Brien’s turn to start the second race, having qualified 13th in class.

But the duo turned in a magnificent performance to finish not only second in GT4, 2.8 secs off victory, but 11th overall, also securing a winning double in the separate Pro Am GT4 class.

The team will be back in action at Snetterton on May 18-19 when the British GT Championship reconvenes.