Dale Budge is a sports writer for the NZ Herald.

Motorsport: Teretonga southern comfort for Leitch

Brendon Leitch, Driver in the 2017 Castrol Toyota Racing Series. Photo / Bruce Jenkins / Photosport
Brendon Leitch, Driver in the 2017 Castrol Toyota Racing Series. Photo / Bruce Jenkins / Photosport

Kiwi Toyota Racing Series star Brendon Leitch is looking forward to the comforts of home this weekend at Teretonga Park, Invercargill.

Leitch, who is eighth in the championship after the first race weekend, says he is going from one extreme to the other in terms of his track preferences.

"Ruapuna has never been my favourite track and I haven't gone too well there in the past," Leitch said.

"We got off to a good start - we had some good speed but come qualifying I probably over-drove the car a wee bit and we had a car issue as well that didn't help. I just had to do the best I could with the qualifying positions I had - a ninth, a sixth and a seventh isn't too bad.

"We were matching the top guys within a couple of tenths. Getting my worst track out of the way is pretty relieving."

The Southlander will be at home at Teretonga this weekend and says he has much higher expectations.

"This is where I got taught how to drive a race car. This is where it all began for me.

"I know this track inside and out so I am definitely expecting big things without putting pressure on myself.

"I think our team will do quite well - we have a good car and a good base of knowledge to go off over the past couple of years.

"I have got a good history here - a couple of years ago I won the Spirit of the Nation feature race here and beat Lance Stroll the current Williams Formula One driver and last year I finished second to Lando Norris."

The opening weekend highlighted the need for consistency with some drivers showing serious speed but also some mistakes where others took advantage.

"To be honest I think there are eight or nine cars that are super-fast and super-close. It was a big train at Ruapuna," Leitch said.

"[Jehan] Daruvala, the Force India driver, he is going to be fast. He was here last year but struggled a bit with inconsistency but he seems to have his head screwed on a bit more this year."

Leitch said his aim was to win the title in 2017. "Last year, we got third overall and I was still in a bit of a learning phase. This year, it is all about finishing up the front."

- NZ Herald

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