Louis Foster excelled in extreme wet conditions at Snetterton - recording a triple pole position, his third win of the season, a further podium finish and a top-five result to retain third place and close the gap on the BRDC British F3 championship leader.
QUALIFYING With the weekend’s weather set to play a starring role in proceedings, Louis felt confident that he could capitalise on the tricky conditions.
Immediately on the pace, the Copart-supported driver was a regular name at the top of the timesheets. Improving throughout the session, Louis took charge of the session just after the halfway mark, where four quick laps in succession sealed him his second double pole position of the year.
“I always knew we’d be in with a shout of a strong result as I really enjoy the wet weather and the car simply comes alive in it as well. Right from the off I had the confidence to push and keep finding speed around the track. As each lap passed, I kept pushing and improving so I couldn’t have been happier with the double pole!”
Starting from the front row of the grid, Louis was set for a good result from the opening race of the weekend.
Starting from the wetter side of the grid, the 17-year-old lost the lead to Frederick off the start line but Louis kept well within touching distance of the American. Together, the pair began to bridge a gap to the group of runners behind and opened up a ten second buffer to Azman in third by lap five.
With the all-important grid for the fourth race yet to be decided, Louis opted to drop back and create a gap to Frederick ahead in order to push for his fastest lap time in clean air. Paying dividends, Louis set a string of fastest laps and finished the opening race in a comfortable second place, 12 seconds ahead of Azman.
“I was pleased with my performance in the first race. The start wasn’t ideal but I kept Frederick honest and knew I needed to play the long game for later in the weekend. I was very happy to come away with my fifth podium of the year plus the fastest lap, which is very helpful for the grid in race four.”
Contesting the reverse-grid race from 12th, Louis was keen to make progress through the field.
An excellent opening lap from the Poggesi-sponsored driver saw him leap three places to ninth. He then scythed his way up to sixth by the halfway mark before making a further place to fifth. Louis then set his sights on Prior and began chasing down the Lanan Racing machine with a handful of laps remaining.
Entering the final tour of the Norfolk circuit, Louis had closed to within a second of Prior and muscled his way through to round out a sublime charge up the order to claim fourth place.
“I had a lot of fun in the second race! Knowing how quick I could be compared to those around me, I felt pretty good about my chances of pushing through the pack. It certainly wasn’t easy as the weather throws a challenge with visibility but I kept it clean and just took the opportunities as they came. To come through from 12th to fourth was a great result for us and meant more valuable points for the championship.”
As the weather conditions showed no sign of improving overnight and into Sunday morning, the third race of the weekend started behind the safety car.
Leading the field away after two laps under the safety car, Louis held firm at the front of the pack and had already built a 1.2 second gap to Frederick in second-place by the end of lap three.
A small error from Louis allowed Frederick to close to within half a second but undeterred, the Lord Wandsworth College student made a statement of intent by setting the fastest lap of the race, a clear six tenths faster than the second-best lap time, to take the chequered flag and record his third victory of the season.
“The car felt amazing in race three. The aim was to hold the lead after the green flag lap - from there it was just about keeping it on the road and not making any errors. I saw Frederick start to close up after I ran a bit too deep but made sure I didn’t give him a chance to sneak through. Setting the fastest lap again also meant I took pole for race four so it couldn’t have gone any better!”
The final race of the weekend also started behind the safety car and, once again, Louis led the field from pole position.
Maintaining his lead through Riches, the abysmal track conditions caught Louis out at Wilson and he slid off the track, falling to seventh place by the time he rejoined.
Still in with the chance of a top-five result, Louis pressed on and began to make up lost ground. By the end of lap five, Louis had claimed sixth after passing Skelton before then passing Maini around the outside at Palmer for fifth on the following lap.
Now chasing Clarke for fourth, the pair also began to challenge Azman for third. With no one able to find their way through, Louis took the chequered flag in fifth place to round a highly successful weekend.
“Race four ended with some mixed emotions. Whilst I was disappointed to lose the lead with the off, I was also really pleased with how I recovered to still take fifth place and battle for the podium in the closing stages. All in all, it’s been a great weekend and we’ve really made up some ground in the championship. It’s definitely going to be a close one so I’ll be giving it my all for the final two rounds.”
Following the weekend’s results, Louis maintains third place in the championship standings but closes the gap to the leading Maini to just 21 points. Taking a short break, the BRDC British F3 Championship resumes at Donington Park on the weekend of 24-25 October - the scene of two of Louis’ three victories so far this season.
Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography.