Despite changing conditions that disappointed many throughout the Blancpain GT field, Attempto Racing’s Nick Foster recovered exceptionally-well to end the race as the leading Audi R8 LMS GT3 car and fifth in Pro class as rain wreaked havoc on the iconic Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
With a rain-laced circuit, conditions proved difficult up and down the field with various red flags stopping sessions. The setup of Blancpain means each driver has their own qualifying session that is later combined with their teammates to give an average, overall time and their ultimate grid slots.
Nick ran in Q2 setting a 2:05:008 and matched with teammates Kelvin van der Linde and Clemes Schmids’ efforts, the Attempto Racing lined up in seventh overall with a 2:06:539. The race started under the safety car with the mornings conditions not clearing up.
Kelvin took the first third of the race and ran amongst the top five before making his stop. An unfortunate gamble to take on the slick tyres dropped the #66 down the order to 25th with Clemes hanging on whilst others around them succumbed to wet-weather.
Nick took the wheel for the final hour, by which point the team had misfortune with timing dropping them even further down the order. But lap by lap, Nick set some rapid lap-times, passing various cars to be back up to 11th in class and 14th overall in just a handful of laps.
With just half an hour remaining and the track starting to dry, Nick became one of the fastest cars on the track and the race fell back into his hands. As the race drew to a close Nick had fought hard to pull the team back into seventh place overall and where they started from.
As the leading Audi, Nick ended the race fifth in class and proved his true pace with a remarkable comeback.
Nick Foster: “In the end I think a top ten to start the year is not the worst, especially where we were sitting mid-race, or just before I jumped in the car. I think our qualifying was quite strong, we could have been a little bit better but where we ended up in seventh from our practice position was quite good.
“The race started quite well, we got up to fourth and with a little bit of shuffling we were in the top five. Then in the second stint we tried to go for slick tyres and get an easy crossover which was a gamble. It was not a bad choice, but the track just never really dried. It was just a slight amount of rain that kept the track wet, so from that point we sunk a little bit.
But when I got in we got an undercut on a couple of the cars from P21 and then the safety car. Then from there it was just about pushing with what we could while trying to look after the rear tyres so we didn’t blow them; which a few others did.
“In the end I think I drove one of the best stints I’ve ever had in endurance racing, driving from P21 to seventh, so it’s some strong points. It’s a long year in this championship, so I’m happy to come away with a decent result. The car was strong in the wet and we can roll into the next weekend knowing we’re a strong top five threat.”