Leitch wins Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe title after nail-biting finish
Brendon Leitch has won the 2023 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe title after a tense final round held at the Vallelunga Circuit, Campagnano di Roma, Italy. Heading into the final two 50-minute races in the one-make series sixth round, the Kiwi driver’s 2.5-point lead turned into a 0.5-point deficit after the penultimate race requiring him to beat home his rivals Mattia Michelotto/Gilles Stadsbader which he was ultimately able to do, winning the overall Pro-category title.
“How good is that! I’m speechless,” commented Leitch. “It’s mega and such a good title to have after a roller-coaster ride it has been all season. Being consistent has been the key to winning and I just can’t thank my Leipert Motorsport team enough for giving me an amazing car and to all my supporters, Dayle ITM and family, this is for you.”
Leitch and rival Michelotto started Race 1, both on the front row of the grid. Michelotto held the lead right through to the compulsory pitstop period with Leitch pitting his #86 Dayle ITM Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2 first. His compulsory 93-second stop for solo drivers, three-seconds longer than two-car teams, brought him out 6.1 seconds behind Stradsbader who took over from Michelotto.
With approximately 20-minutes remaining in the race, Leitch clawed his way into contention but could not get passed Stradsbader before the chequered flag.
While the points advantage went to Michelotto and Stradsbader, Leitch started the all-important title deciding Race 2 from fourth on the grid while his rivals were back in 11th.
Initially Leitch moved into third and appeared to be held up by Stradsbaders VS Racing’s teammate who made it difficult for anyone to pass, thus backing up the field behind him and narrowing the gap between the title rivals. So much so that the lead car held a 11 second margin back to second.
With the compulsory pitstops completed, Leitch was third while Michelotto was in fifth with a five-second time penalty for causing a collision. With five minutes remaining after a safety car intervention, Michelotto was fourth and hounding Leitch, successfully passing him to cross the line in second. However, an additional five-second penalty dropped the Michelotto/Stradsbader entry to 12 overall and out of the points. Leitch was hit with a 0.7 second time penalty for leaving his pitstop too fast and awarded third for the race and the title.
“It’s my first championship so thrilled with that,” said Leitch. “Now for the World Finals which we will go into tomorrow with all guns blazing!”
The Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals bring together competitors from three different Super Trofeo competitions – Europe, US and Asia. All three series hosted their final rounds at Vallelunga this week.
Saturday sees a warm up for the three different categories – Pro, Pro Am and Lamborghini Cup before two qualifying session and two 50-minute races on over Saturday and Sunday.