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Katherine Legge makes Minardi debut 23 Nov 2005

Katherine Legge (GBR) prepares to test for Minardi. Minardi Testing, Vallelunga, Rome, Italy. 22 November 2005. World ©  Patching/Sutton

British driver Katherine Legge got her first taste of Formula One power on Tuesday when she ventured on to the Vallelunga circuit near Rome for Minardi. Legge was just one of four drivers in action for the team in the second day of their final test before their transition to Scuderia Toro Rosso for 2006.

Unfortunately, Legge, a three-time winner in this year’s Toyota Atlantic series, was caught out by the cold conditions on the first run, her PS05 spinning and brushing a concrete wall. The resulting damage was relatively minor, but with light fading and temperatures falling, it was decided to postpone her test until Wednesday.

"It was great driving a Formula One car for the first time, even if I did end up learning about traction control the hard way!” said Legge. “The accident was really just down to a lack of experience, but it most definitely hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for continuing with the test tomorrow and trying to do the best job I can. I really want to thank Paul Stoddart and Minardi for a fantastic opportunity."

Also making their Formula One debuts were Italy’s Davide Rigon, selected as part of a driver-search programme organised by the Italian autosport federation, the CSAI, and Uruguay’s Juan Caceres. Rigone set the quickest time of the day, a 1m 22.57s after 20 laps, while Caceres managed a 1m 27.30s after 22. Regular Minardi tester Chanoch Nissany clocked up 28 laps, his best a 1m 28.54s.

"The conditions were not ideal, with the track both cold and wet, and as this was my first time testing a Formula One car, I am happy with my performance,” said Caceres, who has spent the past season competing in Italian Formula 3000. “I think my lap time was good, and I didn't make any mistakes. I want to thank the Minardi team for what has been a great experience."

Minardi continue the test on Wednesday, again with Nissany and Legge.