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Weekend to forget for Legge
21 July 2009
Katherine Legge was left both frustrated and disappointed as another promising qualifying performance resulted in retirement for the Audi driver at Zandvoort.
After posting a career-best eighth-place start in the previous round at the Norisring, the Briton was confident of putting her year-old A4 DTM at least into the middle of the grid at the Dutch circuit, and achieved her aim, even though progressing to the final phase of the knock-out qualifying system proved a step to far on this occasion.
"First qualifying was okay, as I took it easy and things went as expected on the first set of tyres," Legge said after putting the #21 Audi Collection car into 14th spot, "In second qualifying, my speed was right, but there were a few unfortunate incidents. There's nothing we can do about that now, but I'm optimistic for tomorrow."
That optimism evaporated almost as soon as Sunday's race began, however, with a series of clashes off the start-line putting paid to any hope of rising through the field. Along with Audi stable-mate Mike Rockenfeller, who damaged a tie-rod in one collision and was forced to retire nine laps from home, Legge eventually gave up the unequal struggle with her maimed machine, parking it after 17 of the 41 laps.
"A weekend to forget for me," the Briton insisted, having also been fined overnight for a qualifying incident, "In the race, Susie [Stoddart] hit my car in the first turn, and then Ralf Schumacher did. The car was heavily damaged at the left front and right rear, and was getting worse and worse [as the race went on]. That's why, unfortunately, I had to return to the pit-lane."
Legge's penalty, Audi argued, was a harsh one. While returning to her pit during second qualifying, she collided with team-mate Timo Scheider, who was exiting following a tyre change. The stewards considered the incident to have been an 'avoidable collision' and an 'unsafe approach of the pits', and gave the team a fine of €5000 despite its protestations that bad luck had played a part in the collision.
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