The fifth round of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship saw Melbourne 19-year-old Thomas Randle bounce right back into title contention after a thoroughly dominant driving display on the streets of Surfers Paradise. Despite the treacherous nature of the concrete-lined Gold Coast street circuit Randle put on a driving master class, taking pole position, winning all three races by a comfortable margin and underlining his dominance by breaking his own lap record in the final Sunday event.
The notoriously dangerous beachside venue has claimed many scalps over the years and on the first ever visit to the circuit for the Formula 4 category qualifying saw a spirited scrap between Randle and championship points leader Jordan Lloyd. Times tumbled throughout the 20-minute session, held late on Friday afternoon, and the session ended with both drivers whittling their times down on almost every passing lap. Randle saved his best for last and claimed pole position with a stunning lap that was 0.5s clear of anyone at the time, before Lloyd also improved to leave the margin at 0.2s.
RACE 1 (Grid set by qualifying times) Start: 1st Finish: 1st
A strong start saw Randle away and into the lead, where he would remain for the entire race, pulling out a comfortable margin to greet to the chequered flag four seconds ahead of Lloyd after a brilliant display of clean and precise driving.
RACE 2 (Grid set by the reverse top six from R1 result) Start: 5th Finish: 1st
Starting fifth and on a track where passing is as difficult as anywhere, young Tom drove intelligently during the opening laps before making his first move on lap 7, claiming fourth place after a decisive pass. The next lap was even better, gaining two places to move into second place after the leader's car was hit with a mechanical issue. For the next three laps Randle applied immense pressure to race leader Jimmy Vernon before moving into the lead of lap 11, running away thereafter to claim the win by a commanding 5.8s.
RACE 3 (Grid set by second fastest qualifying lap) Start: 1st Finish: 1st
The final race saw Randle again show his superiority on what is one of the most challenging circuits found anywhere in Australia. Another great start to lead the race at the completion of the opening lap; a position he would maintain all the way to the chequered flag, and rubbing salt into the wounds of his pursuers by braking his own lap record in the process.
Randle now sits 39 points behind Lloyd with two championship rounds remaining, and with more than 160 points still up for grabs the championship is well poised to go right down to the wire. Thomas Randle: “I'm so proud of the DREAM Motorsport team who gave me a great car this weekend and I was really fired up to score maximum points. It was also great to have my team mate, Luis (Leeds) sharing the podium with me. This is by far the best Formula 4 event we have had and will give us some real momentum for the all-important final two rounds. The F4 title is far from over and I will be going all out to try and win it."
Round 6 of the seven round CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship will be held at Victoria's seaside Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit during the weekend of November 20-22.