19-year-old Melbourne University student Thomas Randle endured a weekend of complete
frustration as the opening round of the inaugural CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4
Championship kicked off at Townsville's Reid Park street circuit last weekend.
After being the pace-setter at a number of pre-season Formula 4 test days Randle came into
the weekend confident of challenging for race wins, but it all turned sour when a postqualifying
technical inspection saw his car disqualified from the results after a dubious
The disqualification, which was appealed without success, saw Randle demoted from second
on the grid for both the opening race and the final race (of three), leaving him with a huge
amount of work to do in the evenly-matched 13-car field.
RACE 1 (Grid set by first qualifying session times) Start: 13th Finish: 5th
When the lights went out Randle made a strong start, gaining four positions on the opening
lap, before a Safety Car was deployed for an early race incident. With laps running out
Randle launched an attack in the closing stages to climb to fifth place at the chequered flag
but could do no more in a car that was lacking in straight-line speed.
RACE 2 (Grid the reverse top six from R1 result) Start: 2nd Finish: 9th
A race long battle for second place, as the leader Jimmy Vernon scooted away, saw yet
another Safety Car period impacting on the scheduled 11-lap journey. In a late race dice for
the lead, and while defending eventual round winner Jordan Lloyd, Randle lightly tagged the
back of Vernon's car, spinning the leader out of contention and into retirement. Randle took
the chequered flag in first place but an expected post-race penalty for the incident with
Vernon saw him relegated to ninth spot.
RACE 3 (Grid set by second fastest qualifying lap) Start: 13th Finish: 6th
Again being forced to start from the rear, with yet more Safety Car intervention reducing the
laps needed to mount a challenge, resulting in a frustrated Randle unable to do any better
than claiming sixth place at the chequered flag.
After a thoroughly dispiriting weekend Randle currently sits in eighth place
in the Formula 4 championship 35 points behind his 2014 Australian Formula Ford adversary,
Thomas Randle: “Oh my God, what a complete and utter shocker. I really can't believe what
has just taken place. We had no idea about the rear suspension issue that cost me my all-important qualifying times, and forced us to start two of the three races from the rear of the
grid. That was a massive penalty for a minor indiscretion and one that we had no real control
over, and one that did zero to improve the car's performance.