Legge “hated that feeling of not being in control” as Lundgaard ran at the end of yesterday

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Britain’s Katherine Legge put in a superb performance on Saturday to qualify for next Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | James Black

It has been a difficult few days for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with a severe lack of pace compared to almost the whole pack since practice started on Wednesday, but Legge has been a very bright spot for the team and was their fastest driver yesterday.

Attempting to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing for the first time in 10 years, a single run early in the afternoon was good enough to finish P30 and grab the last automatic spot available on Saturday for next weekend.

Legge’s first flying lap (231.596) and her four-lap average (231.070) is the fastest a woman has ever gone around the famous oval in 500 qualifying.

The 42-year-old explained her feelings afterwards.

“The relief is like tingling now through my body because that was pretty stressful for a minute there.”

At the end of yesterday afternoon, her teammate Christian Lundgaard returned to the track to try and bump Legge out. He failed to do so.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Travis Hinkle

How were the emotions watching that?

“It was mixed emotions. You literally go through every single emotion in qualifying day at IMS, but I was sat there thinking ‘if they go faster, it’s a bit cooler, I think we can go a little bit faster’, so it was not a worry.

“But then we were out of time and I heard that Christian [Lundgaard] would be the last car to go. Then all I could do was wait and watch.

“I hate that feeling of not being in control. Then you are thinking ‘tomorrow we’ll go back to work’. Now it’s just relief, honestly. I need a drink!”

Later today her three teammates Christian Lundgaard, Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey are all in the Last Chance Qualifying segment with Dale Coyne’s Sting Ray Robb. One of the four will miss out on the 500 next weekend.

Legge is fully aware that improvements need to be made to the package for her to truly compete with cars in front over the 500-mile race weekend. All four RLL cars have been a long way off the pace of the front runners.

“Now we have to work on the race car so that we can actually come back next weekend and be strong.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do but collectively I think we’ll get it done. I think we’ll make improvements. I hope that they are going to be enough to let us go fight with them.”