Australian open wheel ace Thomas Randle today claimed his second Toyota Racing Series race win, and in doing so added his name to the New Zealand Motor Cup, one of the country's most prestigious racing trophies.
The 20-year old is the first Australian to inscribe his name onto the famous Motor Cup since Warwick Brown did so back in 1975 - some 42 years ago - and joins many famous international names who have also won the coveted crown ... among them; Bruce McLaren, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Chris Amon, John McCormack, Keke Rosberg, Frank Matich, Frank Gardner, Greg Murphy, Craig Baird, Shane van Gisbergen and Mitch Evans.
Randle was the class of the field throughout the weekend, having dominated practice and qualifying and if not for falling fowl of a track that was breaking up badly in the opening race could well have take two victories from the Hampton Downs weekend. The Aussie-international also claimed the fastest race lap in Saturday's opening encounter and again during the 20-lap Sunday feature race, winning by a comfortable three second margin having led for the entire race, while his feature race pole time saw him establish a new circuit qualifying lap record.
With two rounds (six races) still up for grabs, Randle now sits 22 points behind championship leader, Red Bull driver Richard Verschoor, with Pedro Piquet in third position a further 34 points adrift of the Australian.
"This is a very big win for me, and also for the team ... and after missing out on winning at Teretonga last weekend it more than makes up for the frustration of losing valuable points to a jumped start. I just couldn't believe how slippery the track was in race one and wasn't surprised to see it re-surfaced over night, I just wish it had been in better condition when I was the pioneer in yesterday's opening encounter. That feels like ancient history right now and to be able to add my name to the honour roll on the NZ Motor Cup is just incredibly satisfying, while closing the points gap to Richard (Verschoor) is an added bonus.
"There are still six races left to go and we've well and truly served notice that we're right in the battle for the crown and I will be doing everything I can to be the first Australian to win the TRS title."
Round 4 of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series will take place at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo next weekend, while the final event - which includes the coveted New Zealand Grand Prix - will take place at the Circuit Chris Amon, Manfeild (Palmerston North) during the weekend of February 10-12.