Race 28 2023 Repco Supercars Championship - Vailo 500 For the second year succession, the…
PRESS RELEASE/Thomas Randle – Photo: Darin Mandy
Melbourne 22-year-old Thomas Randle returned to Sandown Raceway on the weekend having last raced there in 2015 in Formula 4, with the outing marking his first time at the venue driving a Supercar. The round also marked the first time the Super2 Series competed on the grippier Dunlop Super Soft tyres.
Opening practice went reasonably well for Randle, and late in the session he put on a set of brand-new Super Soft tyres (being Randle’s first experience on the softer compound) to finishing the session in highly commendable fifth position, knowing though that not all drivers chose to use a set of new tyres. Practice two was a little unrepresentative as everyone had their own tyre strategies, but Randle was able to go quicker on the old tyres, demonstrating his understanding of the different compound tyre for this weekend. He ultimately finished practice two with the 13th fastest lap time.
In qualifying on Saturday morning, Randle was only able to extract 10th position from the Skye Sands Falcon, before discovering a flexing rear wing post-session. The heavens opened prior to the opening race, leaving the whole first sector of the track (turn one to turn four) completely wet. With the whole field including Randle opting to stay on the slick tyre compound, the race began under safety car conditions. Once the race got underway, Randle kept his cool, and took every opportunity that presented itself. By staying on the track and being at the right place at the right time, Randle made his way from 10th to cross the line in fourth place, before being elevated to third post-race after the race leader was handed a penalty for a driving infringement.
“Qualifying P10 was a little bit disappointing for us, but then we found out that the rear wing was broken, so that was handy to figure out before the race. I’m not sure we made the right call on tyre strategy, by not using a second set of new Super Soft tyres, but it is what it is, and we know if we have a dry quali tomorrow we’ll be in the hunt because we have another set of greens, whereas a few people used two sets today. The race was just on another planet. My legs were shaking before the start of the race, seeing the rain coming down. The first sector of the track was full wet, so I just tried to keep my head down, stay clean, stay on the black stuff, and that’s exactly what I did. My car is probably the cleanest one out there, and to go from 10th to third is just phenomenal. I’ve got to thank the team for helping me out and getting the car where it is, and we’ll have another crack tomorrow.”
A day after contesting a race on a wet track at Sandown, Thomas Randle (No. 5 Skye Sands Ford Falcon FG X) raced in Sunday’s Dunlop Super2 race under the morning sunshine, starting in the ninth position and finishing eighth. The 22-year old rookie came within a couple of passes of his second career round podium, as he finished the fifth round of 2018 fourth overall, and as a result climbed to ninth in the overall standings with two rounds still to be contested.
“Considering my lack of experience on the Super Soft tyre I’m reasonably happy with the result. I made a pretty average start in Race 2. It was my first standing start in nine weeks but that’s no excuse, I should have made a better one. Thereafter I had a good battle with Will Brown and managed to get him just before a Safety Car came out, and then passed (Bryce) Fullwood with three laps to go. To come away fourth for the round is awesome, and I still can’t get over yesterday’s result. Bathurst is next on the calendar, and it’s back on the hard, control tyre, which I think is going to favour us. We’ll see if I can keep up my consistency, as there is everything to play for up there being one long race. It’s another new and extremely challenging track for me, and I’m sure the Tickford Racing Skye Sands Falcon will be on the pace.”
Qualifying 1: 10th Race 1: 3rd Qualifying 2: 9th Race 2: 8th Round: 4th Championship: 9th
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