Content originally posted on Velocity News.
In only his second Formula 3 Asian Championship appearance, Brendon Leitch has scored a breakthrough podium for BlackArts Racing.
After scoring the team’s best result to date in the opening race of the season at Sepang International Circuit, the 23-year-old went one better to score third in the second race.
Leitch had to fight for it though after a slow start initially saw him fall as low as seventh as the field made their way through Turn 1 and Turn 2. Leitch got hung out wide at the first turn and several swept around the outside into the second corner.
A bold dive down at Turn 4 netted Leitch two places in one corner and in a split second he was back up to fifth in the order.
Ahead of him sat the Super Licence entry of Tomoki Takahashi who he began to stalk. Leitch got a good run at the end of lap one to get alongside the Japanese drive into the final corner, but a lock up while trying to go around the outside of the off-camber turn came to nothing.
Leitch tucked under the rear wing of Takahashi and got the slip stream down the front straight and into Turn 1. He ducked out then swung back across the nose of Takahashi and took the place before getting to the turn. That put him up to where he started in fourth, but he was well in arrears of the leaders.
At the front of the field, Sasahara led Doohan and Pieris while Leitch was four seconds back. He began to cut the margin down to the top three as the laps wore on. The battle between Doohan and Pieris brought Leitch into the fight. The Kiwi looked likely at times to get by Pieris, but before he could mount a charge the safety car was brought out with 11 minutes to go.
Sasahara got a good restart and stretched his legs ahead of HiTech GP teammate Doohan. The Australian battled with Pieris again and the duo jockeyed for the second spot on the podium into Turn 1. Meanwhile, Leitch held his line as Zhuo Cao sat in behind.
Doohan and Pieris went left and right, but that brought Leitch onto their rear. A good run out of Turn 2 allowed Pieris to launch an attack, but Pieris lost the rear of his car and nearly spun. That allowed Leitch to breeze by and get onto second, Cao followed through too after a brief three-wide run through Turn 6.
Leitch and Cao skipped away and began to look at Doohan. As the checkered flag approached Leitch got close to Doohan, but as the flag fell Leitch came just a two tenths shy of Doohan to come home third.
“It was pretty dicey, the Absolute Racing cars are pretty quick,” Leitch said after the race.
“It was just a matter of trying to keep them behind me. I knew I had some good tyres. The BlackArts car is handling really well so we’re making some big progress there.
“The last couple of laps we had some good speed and I put a bit of pressure on Jack [Doohan] but didn’t quite have enough to get past. There was a little bit of aero wash.”
Leitch has one more race in the series this weekend on Sunday at 6:30pm NZST.
Formula 3 Asian Championship Race 2
|1||Ukyo Sasahara||14 laps|
|DNF||Thomas Luedi||8 Laps|