|Robert Foster-Jones demonstrated a textbook drive to take a scintillating win in the European karting season’s annual curtain-raiser - the Winter Cup at Lonato, on the southern tip of Lake Garda, Italy - last weekend (16/17 February). |
With a quality-packed field of 132 of the world’s best up-and-coming drivers, Southend-based Foster-Jones was also taking on the might of the works teams. He says: “It’s fantastic, I’m over the moon – couldn’t be better! The weekend didn’t start brilliantly - I wasn’t great in practice or in Qualifying - but it all came good in the end.”
In a nail-biting 28 lap final, he got a great start from 4th on the grid, and within a handful of laps had moved into 2nd place. “I sussed out the leader (Jesper Wernersson, from Sweden) and the gap (between us) maintained itself but we edged away a little bit (from the chasing pack). Then Flavio Camponeschi (Italy) got involved and he overtook me, dropping me back to 3rd. I realised after two or three laps of following him, that he wasn’t fast enough to take me back up to Jesper. So I overtook him and could see that Wernersson had a little bit more power going up the straights but I reckoned that towards the end of the race fitness would come into it”.
His prediction was right. With the race run at a frenetic pace - during which Rob recorded the fastest lap - the sheer effort began to take its toll on some of the drivers around him. “I could see Wernersson’s kart beginning to slide around a little bit and I caught and passed him about 6 or 7 laps from the end and thought I could get away, but he could still stay with me. He was able to overtake me again about three laps from the end but on the penultimate lap I re-passed him going into the 2nd of the three hairpins and just held it to the line.” Wernersson desperately attacked in the last three corners - but Rob coolly responded by backing the Swede into the clutches of the rapidly advancing Jack Harvey, giving himself sufficient space to take his debut European victory.
As he walked to the podium ceremony, Rob said: “It’s a feeling you can’t explain, really. It’s just fantastic. I hope that we can produce more of the same for the rest of the season. And I must thank all the people who have helped me throughout the weekend – Moose, my mechanic (Mickey Higham), Ricky (Flynn), Gordy (Gordon Finlayson of GFR Engines), plus Martin and Dan of Pro Performance”
Team boss, Ricky Flynn commented: “It was a fantastic drive. That was one of the best last laps I’ve ever seen – at any level”.
Rob and the RFM team return to Italy next week to test at Parma, in readiness for the Margutti Trophy there on 8/9 March 2008.
Visit www.robertfosterjones.com to follow Robert’s progress throughout the season.