Louis Foster fights back to take victory in Donington Park thriller

  • Foster and Double R provisionally victorious in British F4 classic at Donington Park.
  • Result hands Ginetta Junior graduate the championship lead after problems for Sebastian Alvarez.
  • First podium for Bart Horsten, Joe Turney takes the Rookie Cup spoils.

Louis Foster recovered from an early setback to win a thrilling F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost opener at Donington Park, with his second victory of the campaign provisionally giving the Double R racer the championship lead.

He defended well from team-mate and erstwhile points leader Sebastian Alvarez into the first corner at Redgate, before JHR Developments’ Josh Skelton sensationally seized the advantage after diving down the inside of a superb four-wide battle one lap later.

Foster, relegated to fourth behind Alvarez and the fast-starting Carlin machine of Zane Maloney, was given an opportunity to chase down the leader after the latter pair made contact into Redgate, sending the Mexican into a spin and dropping him to the back of the pack, whilst Maloney continued in third behind Foster.

Skelton, who had quietly built up a comfortable 2.3-second margin in the melee, was then forced to go defensive as Double R’s Foster cut into his advantage lap-on-lap, eventually re-taking the lead with scarcely over five minutes left on the clock.

He duly took the chequered flag by 0.9 seconds after being kept honest on the final few tours of the 1.8-mile Leicestershire circuit to become the first repeat winner in Ford’s winning formula in 2019, and as a result moves 5 points clear of Alvarez at the top of the standings.

“I got through the chicane [on the first lap] in the lead and then had a bit of an issue with oversteer,” explained Foster.

“That allowed everyone to catch up with. I couldn’t do anything about it – I couldn’t block – so I just had to sit there. They were all around left, right and centre, I just had to get round the corner and hope for the best. I was so annoyed because I went from first to fifth or sixth in one straight, which was just the worst of bad luck that a small mistake cost me that much.

“But I got past a few, then two crashed in front of me and the hunt for Josh [Skelton] was on, and I knew I had the pace over him so I just pushed, and pushed and pushed and caught him in the end. I’m over the moon with the result.”

If the battle for top spot was a box-office classic, then the contest for the final spot on the podium proved equally as captivating.

Initially it was Arden Motorsport’s Tommy Foster in the prime spot, with the second Carlin machine of Joe Turney cutting his way through from the fourth row to challenge team-mate Zane Maloney for fourth – and the lead in the Rookie Cup stakes.

That battle ended in less-than-ideal fashion, with Maloney spinning on the exit of Robert’s Chicane towards the tyre wall, but able to rejoin with minimal damage to the front wing, albeit at the foot of the points-paying positions. Turney, meanwhile, set about deposing Foster.

The two ran side-by-side through Redgate, Hollywood and the Craners Curves a few laps later, that conflict ending in a half-spin for Foster on the exit of the Old Hairpin.

It would be far from simple for Turney from thereon in, with Australian Bart Horsten charging through to seize third, from which he would never be bettered, his first podium in British F4.

Turney would hold on to fourth – and his second Rookie Cup win of the campaign to take the points lead in that regard – with the final Arden car of Alex Connor recovering from wheelspin at the start to round out the top five on his competitive debut in the category.

Roberto Faria worked his way through the drama to lead the line for Fortec Motorsport in sixth, with JHR’s Carter Williams seventh behind.

Eighth place was the subject of much dispute and eventually went the way of Maloney after a fightback, but he was made to work for the position after some stellar defending from Fortec’s Mariano Martinez.

The Mexican would eventually take eleventh, with a battle-scarred Alvarez and recovering Tommy Foster rounding out the top ten ahead.

Reema Juffali rounded out the finishers in twelfth, with Luke Browning absent for the majority of the contest, but did take to the track in the closing moments to complete a lap – as a result, he is not classified.

The second race at Donington Park gets underway at 10:45 BST tomorrow [28th April] – if anything is certain, it’s set to be a cracker!

Provisional Result – Round 4

Pos. Driver Team Time
1 Louis FOSTER Double R Racing 18 laps
2 Josh SKELTON JHR Developments +0.946s
3 Bart HORSTEN Arden Motorsport +14.865s
4 Joe TURNEY (R) Carlin +16.856s
5 Alex CONNOR (R) Arden Motorsport +20.005s
6 Roberto FARIA (R) Fortec Motorsport +25.892s
7 Carter WILLIAMS JHR Developments +28.409s
8 Zane MALONEY (R) Carlin +34.503s
9 Sebastian ALVAREZ Double R Racing +35.232s
10 Tommy FOSTER Arden Motorsport +35.384s
11 Mariano MARTINEZ Fortec Motorsport +35.899s
12 Reema JUFFALI Double R Racing +1:01.564s
DNF Luke BROWNING Richardson Racing +17 laps