Frustration for Leitch at opening Asian Le Mans Series weekend
The opening two races of the 2023/24 Asian Le Mans Series proved frustrating for Brendon Leitch and his Leipert Motorsport team over the weekend. The Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia hosted the first two of the five race series which saw Leitch and teammates top AM (Amateur) driver Gabriel Rindone and Lamborghini factory driver Marco Mapelli compete in a factory-supported Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2. Fifth place in a rain interrupted first race was unfortunately followed by a retirement out of the final four-hour race on Sunday.
“It was a crazy weekend,” commented Leitch. “But in a good way. Fifth was a good result in the first race on Saturday. We just didn’t have the car quite dialled-in and we lacked speed which was unfortunate. At one stage we were third when the rain fell in the final hour and we probably didn’t pit earlier enough, staying out too long on slicks (dry tyres) and when we did we dropped to fifth. That happens.”
The second four-hour race on Sunday got off to a less than desirable start when his team mate got turned around on the opening lap.
“That wasn’t part of the plan and put us on the back-foot,” said Leitch. “It was a matter of clawing back some advantage and during my stint we were actually leading our (GT) class although once we got back into the normal sequence of pitstops we were then ninth.
“The car was fast on Sunday and definitely better although we just didn’t have the pace to match the Porsche and Audi competitors. Conditions and tyre degradation seem to be in their favour.
“Then we ran into a technical problem and the team chose to retire the car. It was one of those things where we could have fixed it but unless you finish in the top ten, you score no points.”
The #42 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO 2 of Christopher Haase, Gilles Magnus and Alban Varutti won Saturday’s Race 1 and went on to finish second to the #91 Pure Rxing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Alex Malykhin, Klaus Bachler and Joel Sturm on Sunday.
With the second Asia Le Mans Series event (Round 3) not until early February, Leitch is now back home in New Zealand before heading to the United Arab Emirates and the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai to be held at the Dubai Autodrome 12-14 January 2024.
“That will be a cool event which I am really looking forward to,” said Leitch. “It’s a race that rewards being both fast and consistent across the whole team and aiming for constant perfection.”
Leitch will again compete in a Lamborghini factory supported Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 run by his Leipert Motorsport team. The rest of the four-driver lineup will be confirmed and announced shortly.