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Leitch thrilled with Le Mans Cup result

Southland’s Brendon Leitch is still savouring the experience of racing on the famed La Sarthe Circuit, France, as part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend. Leitch and teammate Gerhard Watzinger were competing in the GT3 category of the 2023 Michelin Le Mans Cup driving the #70 Crowdstrike Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2. Two strong results from two 55-minute races now see the pairing seventh in both the teams and drivers’ championship table.

“Yes, pretty thrilled with the weekend,” commented Leitch. “It was a good result considering we were a bit down on straight-line speed compared with the other GT3 cars because of our BoP (Balance of Performance).”

The pair salvaged a 12th position in the opening race after a drive-through penalty. The race ended under a Safety Car after a late accident caused the race to be neutralised. Manuel Espirito Santo crossed the line in the #58 Team Virage Ligier ahead of the rest of the field but a post-race penalty (Stewards Decision #53) dropped the car to fifth and the race win was claimed by the #4 Nielsen Racing Duqueine of Matt Bell and John Melsom.

“In the second race, Gerhard started the car 15th on the grid and worked his way up to 12th, staying out of trouble and keeping with the main pack,” said Leitch. “I then got in and battled up to fifth which gave us some good points for the overall championship as a couple of cars that finished ahead were ineligible for championship points as they were just competing at Le Mans.

“The car was perfect all weekend and we had dry conditions for racing. We still have work to do as we are still in contention and anything is possible.”

Former MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi added another winner’s trophy to his impressive collection with victory in the second race in the #46 Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 along with his teammate Jerome Policand.

“The atmosphere has been amazing,” said Leitch. “There are so many people at the circuit every day, it is insane. The passion is great and it is such a unique experience I can’t wait to come back.”

The next Michelin Le Mans Cup round takes place at the Circuit Paul Ricard Le Castellet, France, 15 July 2023. Leitch heads home to his European base in Germany before he tackles the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps at the end of June. The weekend in Belgium also hosts the second round of the 2023 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe.

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