1 January 1901
Grand-Am: Tough Daytona debut for Legge.
Katherine Legge has chalked her first 24-hour race down to experience after a disappointing end to a battling performance from the Robinson Racing team at Daytona.
The British racer joined Paul and Wally Dallenbach and team owner George Robinson in the 74 Ranch Resort-sponsored Riley-Pontiac for the Rolex 24, but had to settle for a 25th place finish after problems beset the #84 machine in the Grand-Am season-opener.
The small team had had to come through second qualifying before securing its place towards the back of the Daytona Prototype field, but was running around 16th position in the early stages, improving slightly as the race wore on through the night. However, as dawn broke over Daytona, the #84 began to drop down the order, eventually settling in the bottom end of the top 30 as problems began to take their toll. Having conceded laps to the cars around them while working on the car, regaining places over the remaining hours proved difficult, and the team had to accept that 25th was as high as their effort was going to get.
“It was hard work,” Legge admitted to Crash.net, “We had a roll bar break, engine problems, electrical problems, gearbox problems - we were dogged by engine problems from 11pm onwards and the team had to work so hard all night. It was a struggle to keep the car running, but we finished and the whole team should be proud of that, considering."
Asked about her own performance just a day after stepping out of the new Panoz Champ Car, Legge admitted that it had taken her a little time to settle into the quirky Daytona Prototype, but that she enjoyed the event - problems notwithstanding - as it wore on.
"I wasn't so pleased with my first stint, but then I got into the swing of it and the others went well," she reflected, "The other drivers all did a great job, and it was just a shame that we had the problems we did, as I think we deserved a better result. Let's say it was an experience!"
With Robinson Racing planning only to contest the Rolex 24 - and, indeed, putting its car up for sale after the race - Legge, who was credited with completing the one millionth lap in Daytona 24 Hours history during the race, now turns her attention back to finalising a drive in the Champ Car World Series. Although she has no seat confirmed at present, her performance with Dale Coyne Racing in the recent Sebring test - including third fastest time on day two - showed that she is ready to roll with the new Panoz DP01. The next open test for the series is at Houston's MSR facility next month.
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