Carnoustie’s Fiona is crowned Queen of the racers

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A YOUNG Carnoustie racing driver was recently crowned ladies’ champion in a Scottish motor racing competition.

Fiona Wallace (21) was finally awarded the ladies’ champion of the Celtic Speed Scottish Mini Cooper Cup at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh on Saturday, December 3, after winning the title back in September.

Over 300 drivers and their families and friends were in attendance to see this season’s outstanding drivers honoured.

There on the night were stars of the racing community such as Dario Franchitti, IndyCar title holder for 2011 and president of the Scottish Motor Racing Club Allan McNish.

Fiona’s award was presented to her by none other than John Cleland, two time British Touring Car champion and 1995 Autosport driver of the year.

She said: “Yes, it meant a lot getting it from him, he’s a legend in touring.

“It was quite surreal to be honest when I won the cup because it didn’t feel real until I got it last Saturday.”

Fiona battled it out against the cream of Scottish female Mini drivers and despite some technical problems in her last three races managed to fend off the competition to emerge ladies’ champion with a four point lead.

She was part of Carnoustie High School’s ‘Team Peragon’ project three years ago which won the Jaguar sponsored design and race competition to build and race a model car which ignited her interest in motor racing.

Fiona has been racing Austin Mini Coopers for two seasons and is part of the Mini Max Racing team alongside fellow drivers Hamish Brandon and Vic Covey, who also picked up a second place trophy in the Celtic Speed Scottish Mini Cooper Cup.

She began her racing career four years ago racing Ford Fiesta XR-2s while still a pupil at Carnoustie High School.

Fiona was encouraged to take part in the sport by the father of her friend Fiona Milton, and has never looked back.

Her parents, Ian and Moira, were there on the night to see the presentation, and afterwards described themselves as very proud.

They mingled with many of the rising stars of the racing world, such as Gordon Shedden, British Touring Champion runner-up, Force India F1 driver Paul di Reista and Lewis Williamson who has recently secured a spot in the Red Bull young drivers programme.

Ian said: “These great racing drivers are a real good bunch of proud Scots who were all proud of the achievements of all of the winners.

“It was quite amazing to be in their company and talk about Fiona and her prospects for the future.”

Already Fiona is raring to go and has her eye on next season too, she said: “In the Minis next year I’ll be concentrating on my overall performance and focus on race wins.”

She added: “I can’t wait, I’m bored already and I miss the racing. I can’t wait to get stuck back in and go for it again.”

However, a lot still needs to be done, Fiona explained: “I’m on the hunt for sponsors just now, nearly half the budget is sorted already.”

According to Fiona she has been looking all over Scotland for sponsorship and so far two Edinburgh based sponsors have given their support.

Her father is also looking forward to what he thinks will be an exciting racing season in 2012, he said: “Fiona intends to compete and hopefully retain her trophy next year but the competition is very, very good especially from Elaine Marshall from Falkirk.

“Their racing will be really exciting to watch.”

Previously, the Guide & Gazette reported that Fiona had driven her Mini Cooper in a stage in support of the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) at Knockhill racing circuit at the beginning of September.

At the time her father said: “It will be without doubt the most important and biggest race of her life.”

It was at this race day that Fiona was able to cement her pole position, and at the following race meet on September 10 she was named ladies’ champion.

Her father revealed that the BTCC was so impressed with the performance of the Mini drivers that they have been invited to take part again in August 2012.