Louis Foster claimed yet more silverware on his second appearance in Euroformula Open with a stunning drive to claim second place in race three and another visit to the rostrum.
QUALIFYING With a packed schedule across the weekend, there were four qualifying sessions to decide the grid for each race.
In the opening session of the weekend, Louis ran as high as P2 during the first runs with new tyres. From there, Louis’ rivals opted to use another set of new tyres and all found extra lap time which dropped the 17-year-old to 11th at the end of the session.
Conditions for the second qualifying session differed substantially from the first with the track temperature now much higher than in the morning. Caught out by the changing conditions and the variation in track surface from other series, Louis was unable to challenge for the top-five but was able to secure a top-ten starting position with 10th on the grid.
The Copart-supported driver fared better in the third session of the weekend on Saturday morning. An excellent lap time of 1:35.498 set late in the session secured Louis fourth place for race three and was just 0.286s shy of pole position.
Louis was unable to set a representative lap in the fourth and final qualifying session as an issue curtailed his efforts with only seven laps on the board. As a result, he would line up 12th on the grid for the final race.
Starting from 11th for the opening race, Louis felt confident about his chances of progressing into the top ten.
Despite racing around a circuit notoriously difficult to overtake at, Louis wasted no time in making his way through the field. With full confidence on the brakes, Louis made turn 10 his location of choice and picked off several drivers with some excellent late-braking manoeuvres.
Having climbed to seventh place and eyeing up a move for sixth, a mechanical issue on the final lap halted Louis’ charge and dropped the Brit back to eighth place at the chequered flag.
"The first race was fun! I was one of the only drivers to make any moves and I found turn ten a really good spot to get some passing done. It was really just a case of sticking with the car in front throughout the first half of the lap to give myself that chance heading into the final sector and repeating that lap after lap."
With one race under his belt, attention soon turned to race two with Louis hopeful of another strong performance.
Having climbed to ninth on the opening lap, the Poggesi-sponsored driver settled into a rhythm and began chasing down Zane Maloney in eighth place ahead.
The pair diced for position heading into turn ten where the Barbadian ran wide and off the track, allowing Louis through for position.
From there a relatively quiet race unfolded. The Double R racer had latched onto the battle for sixth place with van Burlo and Krutten but couldn’t get close enough to draw alongside and make a move, crossing the line in eighth place once more.
"Race two was a little less exciting. The opening few laps were good as I made a couple of places but from that point it all settled down. It is difficult to pass here, especially if you're all running in a train but another top-ten is a good result."
Starting from fourth place for race three, the opportunity was there for Louis to replicate his podium performance from Spa-Francorchamps and claim another trophy.
An excellent start from Louis kept the Hampshire racer in contention on the long run down to turn one. Making his way through turns one and two, Louis kept out of the scuffle ahead to scythe his way into second place behind Ye.
Presented with a five-second penalty for forcing Estner off the road on the opening lap, Ye was left with no choice but to push to the limit to negate the damage of the time addition. This meant Louis now became the de facto race leader.
As Ye pushed on ahead, Louis kept it calm and collected. Lapping clean and consistently for the remainder of the race, he was able to keep the gap to Ye within the five seconds he needed to secure the win but in the closing laps, Ye found the extra pace he needed to pull six seconds clear at the chequered flag.
Despite that, Louis still brought the car home to a well-deserved second place and his second Euroformula Open podium in as many meetings.
“I really enjoyed race three, I made a good getaway and kept out of trouble through the first two corners. I could see Ye pulling away ahead trying to build that gap but knew it was best to just run my own race and be sensible with it. That worked quite well and to come away with another podium was a great result for us all so I was really pleased.”
With a starting spot of P12 for the final race of the weekend, it was another case of making places.
A slow start for Louis dropped him to the back of the order but a multi-car pile-up at turn one wiped three cars out on the spot and meant Louis quickly regained the lost positions. With the resultant safety car allowing Louis the chance to catch back up to the pack, he was in a prime place to begin his fightback through the field.
As the green flag signalled the restart, Louis quickly made his way past Luthen for 11th and lined Villagomez up for a move heading into turn ten. Having made his way through and alongside, the pair made contact on the exit of the corner which sent both cars off-track.
Due to the force of the impact, Louis retired from the race and was given precautionary checks by circuit medical staff. Upon undergoing further medical examinations in the UK, Louis was diagnosed with a broken arm.
“Race four didn’t go to plan, especially bogging down at the start but I was able to keep the engine running and get going. After the safety car, I’d lined up Villagomez for a move into turn ten but we just came together on the exit and that speared us both off. Sadly the crash has left me with a broken arm but I'm absolutely fine otherwise and will now focus on getting myself better ahead of next season. I'd like to say a big thank you to all the medical staff both in Spain and the UK for their help and care. I'd also like to say thanks to Double R Racing and all of my sponsors as well for providing me to the opportunity to come here and race - hopefully I'll be back behind the wheel soon!”
Image courtesy of Fotospeedy.