Nick Foster finishes a strong weekend in Blancpain GT Series as the highest placed Audi, with another top ten finish in Paul Ricard on Saturday.
Alongside Attempto Racing teammates Kelvin van der Linde and Clemens Schmid, Nick set a combined 1:53:898 to start in P21 overall for the flagship 1000km (6-hours) race.
The Australian took the Audi for its first stint in the evenings opening hours and avoided getting caught up in the mayhem at the start to move up to P16.
After an early safety car for an accident at Signes - the fastest corner on the track - Nick found himself on the cusp of the top ten. At the restart, he had moved up to P12 before the sister Attempto Racing (#55) caused another safety car after a big collision with the #72 Ferrari.
This triggered the first of the pit stops but Nick stayed out with the Audi dancing comfortably around the French circuit on worn tyres. By lap 19 he had found himself inside the top ten and despite swapping places, lap after lap, with the #519 Lamborghini, he made the position stick to keep hold of eighth place.
On lap 28, Nick made his first pitstop and returned to the track in P24, though it wasn’t long before he began moving through the order once again. Setting a multitude of personal best laps, picking off one driver after another and watching others around him make additional pitstops, Nick was soon back in the top ten and by lap 51 was on the cusp of the top five.
But with the #33 Ferrari running off the circuit, Nick’s stint was brought to an end as he made his second stop on lap 53. Clemens stepped into the Audi for the middle stint and re-joined the race in P18.
Managing various safety cars and enjoying the long-runs, Clemens was up to sixth place before making his final stop to pass the car over to Kelvin for the final two-hours.
The South African came out in P12 but put in a superb effort to recover to eighth place overall after overtaking the #25 Audi on the penultimate lap to sneak the highest placed Audi honours.
Nick returns to the Blancpain GT Series to tackle the World Challenge Cup in Misano at the end of June.
Nick Foster: "It was a bit of a tough start to the weekend, we thought we had pace and the car felt good but then going into qualifying we struggled to put one-lap pace down. Starting P21 was not ideal, but the most important thing was the car was good on its tyres and with the focus on long runs I just tried to stay out of the mayhem at the start. I made up a few positions and then we boxed and in the second stint I could really push and use the speed we have and once I got inside the top ten I just slowly chipped away and ended the session in P6 so that was good.
"I think we easily had the car for the top five, maybe even a podium if we got lucky but unfortunately some of those small mistakes and slow stops lost us a lot of time but other than that I think it’s a positive weekend as a whole. Another top ten in a very tough endurance race, we had a seventh in Monza and eighth here, I think we could have got top five in both but in the end it’s a strong result with good pace and it’s nice to have a couple of good stints under your belt heading into the next one at Misano."