Katherine Legge qualifies for the 107th Indianapolis 500
Katherine Legge brilliantly secured her place in the 2023 Indianapolis 500, outqualifying the other RLL cars and becoming the fastest woman in Indianapolis 500 history.
Katherine Legge has successfully qualified for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 following a thrilling first day of qualifying. As a result, Katherine has become the fastest woman in Indianapolis 500 history, clocking a fastest lap time of 231.596 MPH.
Legge was the 31st driver to set a qualifying time and her four lap average of 231.070 MPH was good enough to secure a tenth row starting spot. Legge was the only car from the Rahal Letterman Lanigan stable to qualify on Saturday, further highlighting the achievement. This was an even more impressive feat considering the highly competitive nature of the Indianapolis 500 field this year with the average qualifying speed of the 30 qualifiers to date being 232.435 MPH.
Returning to the speedway for the first time in ten years, it was always going to be a challenge for Katherine but she was determined to make improvements through practice week and ensure she was in good shape for qualifying.
Legge showed encouraging speed throughout the sessions while continuingto work on the car. With the boost turned up for Fast Friday, Katherine was the fastest Rahal Letterman Lanigan car and clocked the 29th fastest time.
Friday evening saw the traditional qualifying draw take place with teams historically preferring to draw an early number for the best track conditions. Katherine’s team drew the 31st spot which meant a lengthy wait on qualifying day, however it ensured a good reference ahead of her first qualifying run.
Having seen some of the fastest speeds in recent years in both Fast Friday and the early qualifying runs on Saturday, Legge knew she would need to be at her best when it was her chance to qualify. Katherine’s qualifying run was highly impressive and with an average speed of 231.070 MPH this placed her 24th of the 31 cars which had taken time to this point.
It was also the fastest time by a car from the Rahal Letterman Lanigan stable, giving Legge further encouragement that her initial run would be fast enough to make the race.
Although not totally secure, Katherine’s time was looking good in the closing stages of Saturday afternoon as multiple challengers tried and failed to usurp her time. Following an improvement from Callum Ilott, Legge sat just two place inside the top-30 cut line with three hours of qualifying remaining.
With just 15 minutes remaining, David Malukasput his Dale Coyne Racing car into 23rd position which placed Legge on the bubble. Both Sting Ray Robb and teammate Christian Lundgaard made late efforts to challenge Katherine but came up just short, a nerve-wracking time for the British driver as she would have been unable to respond to an improvement from Lundgaard with the 5:50pm cut-off time having been reached.
Katherine will now be looking ahead to her third start in the Great American Race and aim to improve on her best finishing position of 22nd, achieved in 2012 where she drove for Dragon Racing. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan cars have shown good consistency throughout practice and this will be key to achieving a strong finish.
The 107th Indianapolis 500 takes place next Sunday 28th May with Katherine lining up 30thin the #44 Hendrickson sponsored Honda.