In his fourth outing in the extremely-competitive Formula Renault Eurocup championship at France's Paul Ricard Circuit in Le Castellet last weekend, 21-year-old Thomas Randle scored a double points finish to end the weekend as the highest placed Australian in the 32-car field.
With no prior testing at the circuit, run as a support to the European Le Mans Series, Randle had only two 50 minute sessions prior to the first qualifying session later that afternoon to work his way around the 5.84 kilometer circuit consisting of 16 corners, finishing practice in ninth position overall.
Qualifying was tougher, and the Aussie BRDC Rising Star qualified sixth in his group for both sessions, meaning he would start race one in 12th and race two in 11th.
Race one was held in dry conditions with a peak temperature of 30.3 degrees over 25 minutes plus one lap. Randle finished in ninth place after a clean start, a few mid race overtakes, and grabbing a position on the final lap, after the two leaders came together, leaving one of them out of the race on the spot.
Race two was very similar track conditions, however a lot more action packed for Randle. After avoiding two collisions within the first two laps, he went on to cross the line in 11th position only to be promoted to tenth after the race winner was disqualified for failing the post race technical checks.
However Randle receives points for 8th and 9th in his races, as the wild card entry that finished in front of Randle doesn't score points.
"We knew this was going to be the hardest round for us," said Randle.
"After having never previously driven at the circuit, the track still felt extremely new to me going into both qualifying sessions. It was a challenging track and the racing was seriously intense. I nearly lost my front wing at least eight times over the two races, and I had to think fast to avoid the two collisions.
To score a double points finish was fantastic and boosts my confidence going into the next round at Spa Francorchamps, which will be the first circuit we race at, that I have previously driven around and won at.
The team did a fantastic job all weekend and I am looking forward to working with them again in a fortnights time." Randle will be back in the Formula Renault on the 12th of September for the official Renault test at Spa Francorchamps, before the next round at the historic circuit in Belgium, in conjunction with the European Le Mans Series.