Fiona Leggate - Latest News

19th September 05

Fiona homing in on podium.

Bio-ethanol powered girl racer Fiona Leggate scored a seasonís best result of her Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign with a fine fifth place overall Ė just two places shy of a podium - on an action-packed weekend at Silverstone, the home of the British Formula One Grand Prix.

Racing at the Northants venue at the end of a week where Fiona and other BTCC drivers had demonstrated their cars in high speed demonstration runs at Milton Keynes on Thursday night in front of a crowd of 15,000, Fiona was right in the thick of action for the three races held on Sunday.

Fionaís car is the only in the field which runs on environmentally friendly-fuel, but the good for the environment credentials have proved no issue to the only female racer in the field taking the fight to the professional drivers driving manufacturer entered cars.

Driving her Tech-Speed run Vauxhall Astra, Fiona picked up another three race finishes and set some impressive lap times over the course of the meeting Ė lapping within a second of the works VX Racing Astra Sport Hatch of Gavin Smith in each race during the weekend.

A spin in race one saw Fiona drop to the back of the field, but having caught the cars ahead during a safety car period she enjoyed a race long battle with rival Ian Curley before taking 13th place. However it was the second race of the day which saw Fiona shine.

Lapping quickly and consistently, she found herself on the fringes of the top ten Ė and the race three pole that goes with it Ė when Yvan Muller and Rob Collard both pitted, putting the bio-ethanol powered racer into ninth place and a place on the front row for the final race of the day. However, Fiona wasnít finished there and worked her way ahead of both Tom Chilton and James Pickford to finish third among the Independent runners, and sixth overall, inheriting fifth when race winner Jason Plato was excluded from the results.

The final race of the day saw Fiona show just how hard she was pushing as she got sideways at Copse corner and dropped to the rear of the field, but more strong lap times allowed her to reel in Curley to match her result from the opening race of the day.

ďFrom the second race Iím absolutely over the moon, I was so happy, for the first time I got out the car and I actually had a huge grin on my face - instead of getting out the car and feeling a little bit disappointed as I could have done something a little bit better, so Iím really happy with that race,Ē said Fiona of her best ever touring car finish.

ďI was a bit disappointed with my first and third race,Ē said Fiona of her other two races. ďI spun at Copse in both of them so I was struggling a little bit there, I was really, really disappointed with that but after Iíd spun I made pretty good ground and got past Curley on both races, I was gaining on Proctor in the last race and I think if Iíd had maybe another two laps I might have had Proctor as well.Ē

The farmerís daughter from Boston in Lincolnshire also has a new fan in the form of BAR Honda Formula One driver Jenson Button, who popped into Fionaís pit to say hello as he visited the touring cars on race day. The BTCC has been a baptism of fire for Fiona who only had two yearís race experience before coming into the championship, Britainís hardest race series, part way through the 2005 season.

ďItís been so tough,Ē explains Fiona. ďWhen I came into it I knew it was going to be hard, and I knew it was going to be really hard, but itís really, really, really hard. But Iíve got my head down and Iíve tried to do as much as I can as all the time Iíve had in the car is here in front of everybody Ė itís all what they can see so Iíve had to learn a lot in a short amount of time, I think Iíve learnt a lot over the season and I just only hope that somebody can look at the positive side of what Iíve done this season and give me the chance to do it next season.Ē

Before next year thereís the season finale of the British Touring Car Championship which takes place at Brands Hatch in Kent on the first weekend in October. Fiona is raring to go. ďBrands Hatch is my favourite circuit, when Iíve raced there Iíve always had good results there in previous times so hopefully itíll be the same in the touring cars.Ē