Young Invercargill driver Damon Leitch will continue to mix it with some of the world's best up and coming drivers when the Toyota Racing Series heads to the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend.
Leitch, who finished third in the series last season, sits fifth equal in the points along with Englishman Alex Lynn.
However, it has been far from plain sailing for the Southlander this season.
A tough qualifying session at his home track, Teretonga, left him with a lot of work to do at the opening round and then an accident in testing at Timaru left his Post Haste Couriers Toyota in two pieces, necessitating an overnight rebuild before the second round.
This is Leitch's third season in the class and each year he has proven to be very competitive in the talented international fields that come to New Zealand for the series.
While his opposition race all over the world, Leitch still holds down a job in an Invercargill motor workshop.
His racing each year consists of five weekends in the Toyota Racing Series, the odd appearance in a Formula Renault in local club racing and some karting to keep his hand in.
After his testing drama at Timaru, Leitch took his rebuilt car to the fourth and fifth fastest times in the two qualifying sessions, only being bumped down the order late in the session.
Such is the competitiveness of TRS, the top nine drivers at Timaru were under the lap record.
Leitch then raced to three top placings, securing enough points for fourth overall, missing the podium by only four points.
Leitch is looking forward to the challenge of taking on some of the world's most promising drivers again at Taupo.
"I'll be doing my best to make my way to the front," he said.
- The Southland Times