Leitch disqualified after endurance win
Southlander Damon Leitch took the win in opening round of the Carter’s Tyre Service South lsland Endurance Series only to land himself and his brother Brendon Leitch a disqualification.
During the three-hour endurance race on Saturday, Leitch crossed the finish line in first place in the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 he shared with Tony Quinn beating Neil Foster and former New Zealand A1GP driver Jonny Reid in their Audi R8 LMS GT3 Ultra.
However, when Leitch returned to the starting grid he used his car to give a push to the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 driven by his brother Brendon Leitch and Christina Orr-West allowing them to cross the finish line and claim third place after the car had sputtered to a halt 100 metres short of the finish.
As a result both cars were disqualified, handing the win to Foster and Reid with Dwayne Carter and Shane Hodgson, of Auckland, second in their Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 with George McFarlane and Jack Milligan of Christchurch third in the Porsche 997.
Damon Leitch said it was a bit of shame and a ‘‘pretty weird thing’’ to be disqualified after he finished the race.
His brother’s car was sputtering along towards the finish line when he gave him a bump from behind which got the car rolling enough to drive over the line, Leitch said.
‘‘I’d already finished the race.’’
It was the first time Leitch had driven the Aston Martin and he said it was really amazing to be so successful when he was in the car for the first time.
Ben Byers and Jaxon Evans were fourth in their Audi R8 LMS GT3 with Invercargill’s Scott O’Donnell and Allan Dippie of Dunedin fifth in the Porsche 991 Cup.
Reid said after the race that to come back from the early pitstop and be so close on track was more satisfying than bringing out a new machine and dominating. ‘‘I thought Damon drove particularly well and he can hold his head high.’’
Foster and Reid also set a new lap record during the race with a lap of 55.471 seconds.
The #22 Audi R8 LMS GT3, driven by Neil Foster and Jonny Reid, is followed closely by the Aston Martin Vantage GT3, driven by Damon Leitch and Tony Quinn. ROBYN EDIE/STUFF