Katherine Legge races to victory with an historic debut win in the Toyota Atlantic Championship at Long Beach Katherine Legge made history this weekend, as the exceptional young Brit sped to victory in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented...
Katherine Legge races to victory with an historic debut win in the Toyota Atlantic Championship at Long Beach
Katherine Legge made history this weekend, as the exceptional young Brit sped to victory in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. At Long Beach on Sunday, she became the first ever woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America.
Her win capped an exciting race by the 19-car Toyota Atlantic field. She started her Atlantic debut in seventh place and quickly battled into a lead position, after taking advantage of a late technical problem by race leader Rocky Moran Jr.
A clash with Brazilian rookie Fernando Rees in Turn 1 on the 12th lap, resulted in Rees being forced to retire from the race, after his car bared most of the brunt.To the great relief of Katherine and the Polestar team, she continued on with minimal damage to the car, settling into an entertaining chase up front with fellow team mate Antoine Bessette and Moran. All three drivers took turns in leading the race in the final laps and with just three laps remaining, a mechanical problem forced Moran into the run off area in Turn 1 and Katherine into the winning position. Steaming ahead, with her team mate hot on her trail, her skilful driving resulted in a remarkable victory, as she won the race by just over 0.507 seconds.
A triumphant Katherine commented on her performance:
"What a fantastic race and I'm just so happy for my team. They did an unbelievable job. I don't think this has sunk in yet !"
"It was a long race, but I knew I had time. I didn't even think about winning, I just wanted to stay out of trouble. I had a good start and just let Rocky (Moran Jr) go - I knew I had enough car for him. It's been a life- long ambition of mine to be sitting in this spot. I'm very grateful to Kevin Kalkhoven and PKV Racing for giving me this opportunity. I'm awesomely grateful to Polestar (Racing Group). It's not sunk in yet that I've made history, but hopefully it will encourage more young girls to get into the sport. Champ Car is my aim and Toyota Atlantic is the best platform for that."
Katherine will carry a slim one-point lead in the Championship over Antoine Bessette (32-31) into the second round of the championship. She will continue on her quest for success when she returns to the track on May 20-22 in Monterrey, Mexico at the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix.