HORROR F4 START FOR CHAMPIONSHIP FAVOURITE

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

suspension infringement.

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.

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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.

CHAMPIONSHIP

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,

Jordan Lloyd.

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.