Brendon Leitch of Invercargill has continued to mix it with the international stars of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series during the third round held at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in North Waikato this weekend.
The 20-year-old Invercargill driver leaves Hampton Downs fifth in the championship in what is a very tight points table. He maintains his position as the leading New Zealander and is just fourteen points behind second placed Pedro Piquet of Brazil.
The weekend began well for the Southlander when he set the fastest lap in the ITM FT-50 during Friday’s practice sessions before qualifying ninth and eleventh in Saturday’s two qualifying sessions.
He worked his way up to finish in fifth place in Saturday afternoon’s race won by Lando Norris of the UK. He then took a fine second behind Ferrari Academy Driver Guanyu Zhou of China after making his way through the field in the second race on Sunday morning. It was a chaotic race and Leitch made great progress off the restarts following a couple of incidents to chase Zhou home, getting close but not quite close enough to challenge. However the result brought him into second on the championship points table behind Norris.
The feature race for the New Zealand Motor Cup was another eventful race with Brendon finishing tenth in a race won by Pedro Piquet.
Leitch is well placed with two rounds to go as Piquet, Force India Academy protege Jehan Daruvala, Zhou and the Southlander are all tightly bunched on the points ladder with just fourteen points between them. Norris leads the series, sixty-six points ahead of Leitch and with 75 points for a race win the series is wide open.
“There is nothing in it,” said Leitch of the championship battle after this weekend’s action. “I made a couple of mistakes and didn’t have the car quite right in qualifying and that probably cost me a little in the feature race but I regard it a very good weekend overall.”