Louis Foster shone on his Euroformula Open debut at Spa-Francorchamps, taking an emphatic maiden win at the legendary Belgian circuit in only his second race in the series.
QUALIFYING After only seven laps of running prior to qualifying, Louis entered the first of the three grid-deciding sessions with much still to learn about the car and the 4.352-mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
A superb effort in the first session saw the Copart-sponsored driver claim 11th on the grid for the opening race, missing out on the top ten by just 0.057s.
Finding speed and performance throughout the weekend, Louis quickly found himself well within the top ten and secured a stunning fifth on the grid for race two followed by fourth place for the final race of the weekend.
“I had a lot to learn in a very short space of time so I was thrilled with my results in qualifying. Every lap was just about finding the extra speed and gaining confidence which was rewarded with two really strong starting positions that gave me a great chance in the races.”
Starting from 11th for the opening race, Louis was confident he could make his way forward through the field and into the top ten.
Battling up the order through the early stages of the 14-lap contest, the Poggesi-supported driver made full use of the long run down the Kemmel straight to slipstream alongside Andrade and move past the Angolan driver for 10th into the Les Combes chicane.
Now chasing Double R Racing teammate Benjamin Pedersen, Louis began to apply the pressure and kept within half a second of the Danish-American for much of the race. Having lined Pedersen up for a move, Louis made his way past on the final lap of the race for ninth place which soon became seventh at the chequered flag following a collision ahead.
“The first race was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed pushing through the field and enjoyed a few battles along the way. Using the slipstream means you really have to think ahead about where to attack and where to bide your time which I think I managed really well in the end as the race was a great way to start the weekend.”
Taking his place further up the grid meant Louis was in with an even better chance of a strong result for the second race of the weekend.
A strong start for the 17-year-old saw him gain a place after the first corner and put him in prime position to slipstream past Cameron Das and up to third place heading into the Les Combe chicane.
Louis was then put on the defensive as Das mounted a comeback heading into the Bus Stop but Louis halted the American’s charge with some strong defending through the chicane and down the main straight.
A safety car following a collision further behind bunched the pack back up and brought Louis back into contention with Ye and Dunner ahead. Following the restart, Louis pulled away from Cohen in fourth whilst Ye and Dunner battled in front.
The pair came together on lap 13 and, with both cars now out, Louis took the lead in only his second race in the series. Keeping it calm and collected, the Lord Wandsworth College pupil took the chequered flag to claim victory by almost three seconds from Cohen.
“It was amazing to win in just my second race. I had a really strong opening lap to get myself into third, which was half the battle done. It then became a case of trying to keep in touch with the guys ahead whilst also not losing too much time in keeping ahead of those behind me. You have to make sure you’re in the best position possible to capitalise on things when they happen and I did just that so I couldn’t be happier.”
Buoyed by his success in race two, Louis was aiming for a similarly strong performance in the final race.
Maintaining fourth away from the start line, contact from another car into La Source pitched Louis into a spin and meant he was unavoidable as Pedersen tried to navigate his way through the carnage - taking both Double R Racing machines out on the spot.
“It was a shame to end the weekend like that but it’s racing and that’s what happens. La Source is a tricky corner on the opening lap and contact is always a possibility. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the car all weekend and to come away with a win is amazing. As always a huge thank you to Double R Racing for the opportunity and to all of my sponsors for making it possible - without them I simply wouldn’t be able to compete.”
Returning to the UK, Louis will be back in action this weekend, 24-25 October, and hoping for more success as the BRDC British F3 Championship continues at Donington Park.
Image courtesy of Fotospeedy.