Fiona Leggate - Latest News
7th August 2006
Thruxton Mini Challenge
At the weekend Fiona contested the Thruxton round of the MINI Challenge. The race weekend started at 10:45am on Saturday, with the free practice session. She also knows Thruxton quite well now, with the Thruxton round of the BTCC being one of her most successful weekends this season, so she was hoping to be quick in the car from the outset. This proved to be the case when she managed to set the third quickest time of the session with a 1:29.948, only 2 tenths of the fastest time.
Fiona seemed happy; "The car bounces around a lot, but I enjoyed that session! I had a lot of traffic and if I could have got a clear lap, I think I could have set fastest lap."
So things looked good for the Qualifying session in the afternoon. Fiona was fourth out onto the track for the short 15-minute session and was setting competitive times straight away. She ended up in a train of cars, which included most of the front-runners. During the session her car developed a problem with the ABS, which was causing difficulties braking into the complex and producing large amounts of smoke. By the end of the session Fiona was 4th with a 1:29.075. This was a good time, ahead of several of the series established top drivers and less than a second off pole. Fiona wasn't happy though, she thought that if she could have got a clear lap and not had the brake problems she could have got her lap time down further and challenged for pole. Fourth on the grid it was though, still an excellent start in the MINI challenge with a podium and maybe even a win still possible.
The first race on Sunday was just after 12:00pm and the weather was very hot. The race was a timed race of 15 minutes. This was the first time Fiona had a done a racing start in the car and with it being so different from the touring car, she was slightly slow away. This dropped her to 9th place but she quickly set about passing the cars in front of her. By the end of the race she was 6th and had set fastest lap of the race with a 1:29.938 well over half a second faster than everyone else and had done all of this with a car which didn't want to change in 2nd gear. It had been an excellent debut in the MINI Challenge, but Fiona wanted better for race 2.
The grid for race 2 was decided using each drivers 2nd best lap from qualifying and Fiona's lap put her 5th on the grid. This time the race was started with a rolling start and Fiona got away much faster. Halfway round the second lap she was fighting for fourth place down into the complex with several other cars, but unfortunately a large amount of bumping and boring through the complex saw Fiona knocked down to 8th place. Fiona kept charging hard though and passed several cars on the next few laps to be 6th right behind Gavin Bristow. With a much faster car than Gavin's underneath her, 5th place would soon be hers. But then disaster struck, going into the chicane the ABS problem from Saturday re-occurred and pitched the car into a spin. Fiona quickly recovered from this, but within a couple of laps she was out for good, when the car cut out unexpectedly on the back half of the circuit. Fiona was understandably very upset that bad luck had struck once again. It had been an excellent debut though, with Fiona fast all through the weekend and she had clearly demonstrated she could challenge for a win in the future.
Fiona's next MINI Challenge race will be at Spa Francochamps in Belgium on the 8th of October, but she will be in action again in her BTCC Bio Ethanol Astra next weekend at Snetterton.
Fiona would like to thank Angus Duke a great weekend.
This weekend 12th and 13th August Fiona looks forward to the British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton, which will be aired LIVE on ITV Sunday.
Supplied by Marc Waller
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