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Orr West and Leitch looking to build on debut Audi podium

A top three on debut in the DAYLE ITM Audi R8 at Teretonga has left Brendon Leitch and Christina Orr-West optimistic they can challenge for top honours at the remaining rounds of the South Island Endurance Championship.

Although the duo have raced impressively in the past in a Mercedes GT3 car, this was the first time they had raced the first generation GT3 Audi, and with only minimal testing behind them in the current COVID climate, which has made regular motorsport largely impossible for the past six months.

After qualifying third a blistering start by Orr-West saw her take an early second place ahead of eventual winners Darren Kelly and factory driver Alex Riberas in their brand new GT3 Aston Martin but an unscheduled stop when the car picked up a vibration dropped the car from second to ninth.

Strong stints by the experienced racers saw them fight their way back to third and despite driving throughout the remainder of the race with the vibration the reward was a podium finish at the flag. Both are optimistic that there will be more to come.

It was an exciting day and there were plenty of ups and downs,” explained Leitch. “We were fast but not quite where we think we can be on the ultimate pace of the car and that combined with some good strategy calls and some general tidying up in a few areas should see us a little closer to the outright pace and in good shape for the next race.”

Orr-West, one of the finest women racers New Zealand has ever produced, was relishing the opportunity to mix it with names like Jonny Reid and Riberas, adding: “It’s just great to be out there racing GT3.

“They are fantastic machines and starting the race was a lot of fun, especially as we gave those fast guys something to think about. That’ll keep them on their toes for the remaining rounds and just can’t wait to get out there again.”

The series moves to the Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, for the second round of the series on October 3rd.

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