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Derbyshire, Balfe & Spirit-Kia – More Of The Same Needed At Imola
After an incredibly successful race weekend at Silverstone, the Balfe Motorsport team is hoping that it can continue the good form at Imola, for round four of the FIA GT Championship.

A good, solid result on home soil was always the aim and second on the road to the factory Porsche was the best way to bounce back from the slightly frustrating and disappointing results at Monza and Magny-Cours.

Imola should be a track which will suit the Spirit Kia, Spirit VW and Newark Glass Group-backed Mosler really well. The layout of tight sections and fast chicanes are what the car excelled on in Spain in 2004, so it is of no surprise that the whole team is looking forward to the meeting - especially Jamie Derbyshire, who had his hopes built up for the race in the Creation Lister last year, only for it to break down after a couple of hundred yards.

“I didn’t get to race here last year as the transmission broke as Jamie (Campbell-Walter) crossed the start line,” said Jamie. “It’s a fantastic circuit and I can’t wait to get into the race with the Mosler. The guys are working so hard on the car to edge us closer to the cars ahead of us and I think we can maybe narrow the gap even further at Imola.”

Although Derbyshire has prior knowledge of the venue, it will be a completely blank sheet of paper for the rest of the team, including Shaun Balfe. Although he enjoys the challenge of a new track, certainly historic and respected ones like Imola, and is confident that after the opening free practice session, he will have his eye in and be ready for the rest of the weekend.

“I can usually get into a rhythm within about 10 or 12 laps,” he said. “It obviously depends on the nature of the track and from walking round it, it does look like it offers a lot for a driver to do, especially over three hours!”

“We’re hopeful that the car will shine around here and some further developments between Silverstone and here should help us close the gaps to the GruppeM cars a little. But you never know what they will pull out of the bag, do you? They will have data for the track and I’m sure Porsche isn’t standing still with the development of the GT3, so we will have to wait and see.”

The team has shone in qualifying this year, the Mosler the only car to have got close to the factory 911s over the first three rounds. Balfe has continued his form from 2003 and 2004 and has opened a few eyes as to what the Mosler is capable of.

“I had the aim at every round in 2003 in the British GT series to be the fastest on track whenever I went out in the car,” said Balfe. “I had the same attitude during most of the season last year too, but there were times when we had to err on the side of caution, when we realised that the title might be within reach. In qualifying this year we have been showing the potential of the car to the rest of the field and the FIA. We know that it will be competitive against the Porsches, we want others to see that too.”

Another finish is the aim for the team this weekend. But, with improved performance and reliability in the Mosler now too, a more competitive race is also high on the teams mind in San Marino.

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