1 August 2014
Snetterton BTCC: Foster: It’s been frustrating a year
eBay BMW's Nick Foster admits it's been a largely frustrating BTCC season so far but feels a stronger second-half is on the cards.
eBay BMW's Nick Foster admits it's been a largely frustrating BTCC season so far but believes, with a little bit of luck, a stronger second half of the year is on the cards.
Foster, now currently in his fourth BTCC season, lies 16th in the overall standings behind his West Surrey Racing team-mates, with Colin Turkington leading the charge at the top of the table while Rob Collard remains in contention for the title in fifth.
The WSR-man, paying tribute to his BMW 1 Series' apparent raw pace, says his positioning in the championship – which he says has been hampered by outside factors - has not yet merited the performance of his eBay machine.
“It's actually been a frustrating year so far,” Foster told Crash.net. “Although I think the team have done a great job as the car is much, much better.”
“We had a drive-through at Brands, which I thought was quite harsh, and then we've been taken out twice in races and we had a mechanical failure as well. So I've had more non-finishes this season than I've ever had before really.
“So I sort of feel the pace of the car isn't retrospective to where we are in the championship, I'm hoping that position will improve as we get to the end.”
As a result of his misfortune on Sunday afternoons, Foster has been one of the biggest movers in terms of positions made and last time out at Croft the 48-year old gained a startling 22-places after yet another first lap incident put his BMW at the back of the field for the second race.
Foster eventually clawed his way back up the field to finish in 13th before closing the day with a seventh to put himself back into contention with Alain Menu for Jack Sears Trophy.
“When you have to start at the back and fight you're way through, it's tough. Especially when there are 31 cars on the grid with a lot of experienced drivers, so to come through to 13th in that second Croft race was a good achievement.
“Then to finish seventh in the final race was probably the best we could have hoped for the day.”
Foster, however, admits he must get his act together in qualifying to stand any chance of consistently making it into the top ten without any trouble.
The former GT-ace has cited maximising 'the window of opportunity' of where the new tyres yield extra grip in qualifying as an area in where he believes there's time left on table – a technique which Foster says his team mate Turkington has down to an art.
“I think there is a window of opportunity when putting the new tyres on to get that extra little bit of pace in one or two laps,” said Foster.
“Colin does a particularly good job in finding that extra bit of grip when its available and he has a very good knack at doing that.
“I don't think we do a bad job at that, I feel we do a good job but you just got to keep working at it.
“It's something I've got to dig deeper with to find that extra bit and that's what it does when you've got someone like Colin, who qualifies really well and makes you really dig dip to find that extra bit.”
In keeping with the current FWD/RWD saga, Foster vented his frustration in TOCA's ruling, which has increased the length of the RWD machines first gear after complaints from leading FWD runners of their previous start line advantage.
Foster also revealed the severity of the ruling actually led to the failing of his team mate Turkington's clutch in the final race at Croft, which handed the Ulsterman an untimely DNF.
“Does it slow us down? Yes,” Foster explains. “It's much more difficult to get the car off the line and it definitely is much easier to let the car bog down, appreciate when that does happen at the start, it's a disaster!
“It is problematical and Colin even had a failed clutch, which is a consequence of that longer first gear. To put it into perspective, the clutch lasted for over two years up until the point where we changed it and it did one race weekend.
“At £3,500, that was a painful experience. I don't know whether that's going to happen again but I'm sure the team are hoping that it doesn't.”
Finally, as the season draws into its second phase, Foster believes a top-ten finish in the overall standings still remains a strong possibility, providing he can finish the year with a string of consistency.
“Hopefully there's going to be a bit of luck coming our way and if we can finish the season with getting good and solid finishes in every round, and particularly race one of each weekend, then I see no reason no reason why I can't elevate my position from where I am at the moment.
“I would really like to get into the top ten. I think it's going to be hard but I believe still achievable.
“There are a lot of people who aren't that many points in front of me at the moment, so if we can have some good solid performances then it can make a big difference,” Foster concluded.
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