Fiona Leggate - Latest News
30th July 2007
Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the BTCC took place at a sunny Snetterton circuit in Norfolk at the weekend. Fiona was looking forward to the event after going really well in the Britcar races earlier in the year. She also had the services of a new race engineer, Ian Tilsley of TWC. Ian is a very experienced ex MG race engineer and he was confident of helping Fiona get a good setup on the car and ultimately some good results.
First practice got underway in the morning and both Kartworld cars ran well the whole session, Fiona and Jason working on setups and trying to find improvements in lap times. Fiona set a best lap of 1:14.806, a good start to build on. Both Fiona and her engineer were confident of finding more time in the second session.
The second session got underway at just after midday and Fiona was straight out the pits determined to find more time in the car. Sadly a few laps into the session the gear selector mechanism failed, something, which takes a while to replace, meaning Fiona would have to sit out the rest of the session. Fiona tried to stay positive and was not too downhearted;
“I had hoped to find at least a second in that session, but I guess I’all have to just find the time in qualifying instead.”
Fiona was feeling confident going into qualifying and hoped to set a time not far behind her teammate Jason. After qualifying the Team noticed the fuel filter had blocked. This was replaced and thing were looking good for race day.
The first race got underway at the relatively early time of 9:50am. Fiona had support both in the garage this weekend from troops from Headley court the defence medical rehabilitation centre in Epsom that Fiona had visited the week before. Fiona was happy to be able to give them the opportunity of a day out at the BTCC, a very different experience to their normal routine.
“It’s great to be able to come here and support Fiona at the BTCC as we are usually stuck inside at the centre during the weekend” commented her Grid guy before the race.
Fiona made quite a good start and shot of round the first lap. Part way round there was a coming together between Chris Stocktons Lexus and the Honda Integra of John George. Fiona had to swerve to avoid the chaos, which lost ground between her and the main pack. She charged off after them setting some of her best times of the weekend so far and by the end of the race she was right behind them. Sadly there was no more time to pass anyone and she crossed the line in 18th place. This became 17th after the race when the winning Team RAC BMW of Colin Turkington was disqualified due to being underweight. 17th place would be a better starting position for race 2 and with a good start; Fiona hoped to be in the battle for the point’s positions.
As race 2 started Fiona got the brilliant start she hoped for rocketing off the line passing several cars. Sadly behind her a chain reaction was starting, Mike Jordan had been slow away. Chris Stockton and Eoin Murray moved left to avoid him and ended up trying to occupy the same piece of track! This put Chris Stockton into a spin and he slid straight across the track into Fiona. The impact was huge and sent her into the pit wall, launching the car 6ft up high into the air! It came back down with a massive bang, leaving huge damage and Fiona bruised and shaken, but fortunately without any serious injuries. Fiona returned to the garage still wondering what had happened.
“I’d got an excellent start and was passing cars when bang, someone hit me and I was into the wall and in the air. That hurt!” she told the team, who had been very concerned for her safety after seeing the crash.
It had been yet another disappointing weekend for Fiona, again through no fault of her own. The Kartworld Team worked really hard at trying to get Fiona’s car ready for race 3 but the car had suffered massive damage and would need to be put on a jig to straighten it. There are positives to be taken though, Fiona had worked extremely well with her new race engineer and he had helped her find more time and confidence in the car. The next BTCC race is at Brands Hatch in three weeks. Fiona had gone really well there at the first round of the season so with her new engineer and more experience in the car she will be hoping for a really successful weekend. If you can’t make it to the track to support Fiona in person, you can see the race day live all day on Setanta sports or catch ITV’s coverage later in the day featuring a live race 3.
The first of Fiona’s new watches have now been produced and are selling quickly. With only 100 being produced anyone wanting one will have to act quickly if they want to make sure they are not disappointed.
Report by Marc Waller
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