Balfe quartet head to Snetterton following successful Spa day
Balfe Motorsport McLaren will turn its attention to the British GT Championship round at Snetterton this weekend, after success in Belgium.
It proved to be successful trip to Spa Francorchamps as Stewart and Lewis Proctor’s 750S took third overall and a class win in the Silver Ams for the Fulbeck-based team, while Ryan Marshall/Jack Brown were outright GT4 winners, from sixth overall in their 570S.
With such a long lap at the home of the Belgian Grand Prix the qualifying sessions for both GT3 and GT4 only managed about four laps each.
Stewart was the first of the Proctors to set his pace, fifth overall and second in class before handing to Lewis in the Pro Session.
He was quickest of the Silver Am class from seventh overall, but enough for their combined times to give them fifth on the grid for the two hour race.
In the GT4 sessions Ashley Marshall was second best, before Jack Brown took over. His time was fourth best, which also gave them fourth on combined times.
Sunday’s race started in chaos after a startline shunt accounted for a couple of cars in an already smallish grid.
Three laps behind the safety car followed, with a diversion via the pitlane, while the track was cleared.
Stewart Proctor was running in third and leading his class, as the Neary’s Mercedes, their class rivals, was eliminated in the start incident.
Marshall was in sixth overall as well as being second in the GT4 too, but had sustained damage in the incident and the steering was out of track.
Racing was finally underway with the green flag waved for lap four, putting Proctor under pressure from Michael Igoe’s Lamborghini for third.
For a number of laps the gap stayed at around 0.5 secs, with Igoe unable to make any real impression on the Balfe McLaren.
“He was stronger than me in the mid sector, so I had to make sure I kept it precise,” said Stewart.
After 15 laps he had consolidated to over 2.5 secs and started to chip away at second placed Andrew Howard’s Aston Martin.
With Howard the first of the lead quartet to pit, Proctor came in after 24 laps, handing to Lewis from a solid second place overall.
Rejoining second, Proctor soon had Phil Keen closing in the Igoe Lamborghini. The pair swapped after 28 laps, but any further threat to Proctor’s overall standing was well over 1.5 secs away.
“I could have held off the inevitable, but he went through into Eau Rouge as the Lamborghini’s had better mid sector pace than us,” Lewis added.
Keen had continued to edge away to seal second, but Proctor was over 50 secs up on fourth placed Ross Gunn in the Howard Aston Martin, sealing their overall podium finish and taking maximum points in the Silver Ams, which they now lead by 30 points from the Neary’s.
It was an equally if not better day for the GT4 crew, making up for their disappointment at Donington.
Marshall was battling with the BMW of Will Burns for sixth overall and GT4 lead from the start and finally got by on lap 16.
“He was leaving gaps, so I dummied at La Source and was through on the run to Eau Rouge,” he explained.
As early pit stoppers, Brown rejoined in third initially, but when his rivals pitted over the next couple of laps, they became class leaders.
Darren Turner had taken over Matt Topham’s Aston Martin and began to close in, before going by on lap 35.
At the flag Turner was 14 seconds clear of Brown on the road, but a 30 seconds penalty was added for track limits, handing victory back to the Balfe duo.