Fiona Leggate - Latest News
14th May 2007
Fiona was at Snetterton in Norfolk at the weekend for the second meeting of the EERC Production Saloon championship, often referred to as PS1. Snetterton is very much a power circuit and Fiona’s MG ZR is one of the smaller engined cars in the championship so she was unsure of her competitiveness with the rest of the field. However she knew that Team TWC would be able to help her get the maximum from the car so there was reason to be confident.
The Norfolk circuit has not brought Fiona much luck in the past and with her recent misfortunes in the BTCC, Fiona was hoping for a change in fortune. Qualifying was the first session of the day underway at 9am. Fiona was immediately on the pace, easily faster than her other class 3 rivals and ahead of some of the theoretically faster class 2 cars. Every lap she pushed a bit harder, leaving her braking a bit later on each corner trying to get the best lap possible. Then near the end of the session she found the limit going into the Esses and had a small spin. It was no problem though and she was soon on her way with no damage to the car, all part of being a racing driver!
She ended the session with a best time of 1:20.902. This was good enough for 11th place, class pole and ahead of one of the class 2 cars as well. Fiona felt she could go even faster in the race so things were looking really good.
Both races would be 20 minutes long with a rolling start, the first underway at 11:35.
Fiona got an excellent start and was soon up to a couple of the class 2 Honda Integra’s of Mike Thomas and Tom Gannon, well ahead of her nearest class 3 rival the Renault Clio of Jonathon Ridley-Holloway. Fiona was all over the back of Mike Thomas’ Integra in the corners but as soon they reached the straights, the Integra’s superior power meant he pulled away again. Fiona hung onto the back of him and had a go passing into the Russell Chicane. She dived through, but the Integra powered past as soon as they reached the straights. Lap after lap the same thing happened with Fiona not letting the faster car pull away. She had to be careful though, as all this battling was slowing them both down and the Renault Clio of her nearest rival was gaining on them. There was not enough time for him to catch up though as by now the race had reached its final lap. Fiona crossed the line in 8th place overall, a second behind Mike Thomas having been unable to find a way past. She had won her class be 2 seconds from the Ridley-Holloway Clio. She had now won her class in all three races held so far this year, could she make it a 4th time in race 2?
Race 2 started at 2:40pm, Fiona in 8th place on the grid from her race 2 result. She got another excellent start and was again up with the Class 2 Honda Integras. This time the battle was with the number 82 car of Tom Gannon. Lap after lap it was a repeat of her battle in race 1 with Mike Thomas, she was much faster in the chicanes and dived, through, only to be repassed by Tom using the Integra’s superior power on the straights. Then she managed to get a bit of a break, Tom had a poor exit to the Esses, giving Fiona a slight lead which could act as a buffer for when the Honda was faster on the straights. She actually began to pull away slightly from Tom Gannon, it looked like she may beat all the class 2 cars as well as easily winning class 3. but then the safety car emerged from the pits, having been scrambled to enable marshall to remove debris from the circuit, this was the last thing Fiona needed. Tom Gannon caught up to the back of her again in the train of cars following the safety car. As it pulled in the Integra surged past on the straight, Fiona having no further performance in the car to be able to resist him. Again she dived through going into Russell, but again Tom pulled ahead on the Revett Straight! Tom then started driving defensively aware the race was coming to an end. On the penultimate lap Fiona had one last go into Russell, but Tom was able to put his car in just the right place to foil her move. By then the very fast class 1 cars were coming up to lap them. They got in-between Fiona and Tom foiling anymore attempts to pass him. Fiona crossed the line in 8th place overall once more, but she had again won class 3, this time by over 12 seconds. She also took fastest lap of the race a 1:20.831. This was also faster than the best class 2 time set by Tom Gannon of 1:21.287. Fiona was happy to have again won class 3, but was understandably a little disappointed at not having managed to beat the Gannon Integra.
“It was a really good race, but I think I need more horsepower!” She said in parc ferme.
She had done what she had set out to do though, another clean sweep, a class pole and 2 class wins as well as a fastest lap. On a circuit where power is one of the most important attributes, being able to race (and mostly beat) the more powerful class 2 cars was an excellent and impressive achievement.
Fiona’s next EERC PS1 event will be a night race at Spa on the 17th June where she will be hoping to continue her class winning run. However before then she will be in action again in the BTCC at Croft on the 3rd June. This can be seen live on Setanta sports or as a mixture of highlights and a live race 3 on ITV3. Fiona will be hoping she can transfer her luck from the EERC to the North Yorkshire Circuit and score her first overall points of the season.
Report and pictures supplied by Marc Waller
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