Damon Leitch is back and ready to win again

Last updated 05:00 18/01/2013

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Last year Invercargill driver Damon Leitch scored his first race win in the highly competitive Toyota Racing Series at Timaru International Motor Raceway.

That is something he would love to repeat this weekend as the series pays its annual visit to the tight, twisty South Canterbury circuit.

Leitch will arrive at Timaru placed eighth in the championship, the legacy of a costly qualifying session at the opening round at his home circuit, Teretonga Park, last weekend.

After struggling to compile a good lap in his Post Haste Couriers Toyota during qualifying, Leitch was always going to have his work cut out during the races.

However, he was one of the few drivers to make progress in each of the races in the closely matched field.

Leitch is still well in touch in the championship points and a good haul of points from this weekend's three races will be uppermost in his mind as he sets about his work at Timaru.

One unique feature about Leitch as he goes racing at the highest level in New Zealand is that he is probably the only driver on the grid who had to go back to work between the first and second rounds of the championship. Fifteen of the 18 drivers are internationals and while many of his rivals enjoyed a few relaxing days in Queenstown after Teretonga, Leitch was back at his job.

"We went really good here last year and we are aiming for something like that again," he said.

Qualifying for Leitch and the Post Haste Couriers Toyota will take place over two sessions from 11am tomorrow morning.

Race one of the round, over 15 laps, is scheduled for 3pm tomorrow afternoon. Another 15-lap race takes place on Sunday morning at 11am, with the feature event, the Timaru Herald Trophy race over 20 laps, scheduled to start at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, younger brother Brendon Leitch is on the hunt for more podiums and more race wins as the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship moves to Timaru.

Leitch overcame several niggling problems at Teretonga last weekend to take his first win in the category. That helped propel him to the top of the points standings in the championship, where he shares the lead with Christchurch driver Michael Collins.

Leitch was upbeat as he prepared for the second round, pleased with improvements that have been made to his EH Ball/ ITM Stealth which he took to third in last year's championship.

"I'm hoping to go well. It's a completely different car this year - it's absolutely great.

"I enjoy Timaru. It is a nice track - tight and winding - it suits my style."

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Leitch and Collins sit atop the points with 202 each, while another Christchurch driver, rookie James Munro, is third on 183.

Leitch and the EH Ball/ITM Stealth will contest a 20-minute qualifying session from 10.15am tomorrow morning, while the opening race of the round, over 10 laps, takes place at 2.20pm that afternoon. On Sunday Leitch will fight out two more races, the first over 10 laps at 9.50am, with the final race over 12 laps at 1pm.

- The Southland Times

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