Melbourne 22-year-old Thomas Randle returned to the Townsville Street Circuit on the weekend having last raced there in 2015, with the outing marking his first time at the venue driving a Supercar.
Practice one went quite well for Randle, ending up sixth fastest, while still getting to grips with hustling the V8 powered machine around the tight and tricky Townsville layout. Practice two looked promising early on an older set of tyres, however when he made the switch to greens, Randle couldn’t extract the maximum out of the car or himself, ultimately winding up in an unrepresentative 16th place.
However, when it came to qualifying on Saturday morning, Randle really turned it on when it counted and was able to place the Skye Sands Tickford Racing Falcon on the front row of the 23-car grid, just 0.25s from scoring his second behind pole position in as many races. With his last standing start being over two months ago, when the lights went out Randle developed unwanted wheelspin off the line dropping to fourth, which would be his finishing position when the chequered flag flew 21 laps later.
“It was a 100% positive turnaround from Friday, Patto (David Patterson, engineer) and I spent all night, until 10:30pm, going over the data, and it paid off. We were on the front row on Saturday after qualifying, but I just couldn’t quite get the front tyres to work in the race. Having said that, if you had of said to me after Friday that we would qualify on the front row and finish in the top four behind three current Supercar endurance drivers, I would have happily taken that result!”
Qualifying 2 was certainly a lot tighter across the whole field, with Randle putting in a lap that was just 0.3 of a second off pole position, leaving him with an eighth place start for Sundays second and final race of the weekend. At the beginning of the race, there was a lot of biff and barge, with Randle potentially getting a slow leaking front right tyre after some minor contact in the early race chaos. Resultantly, this lead to a major front tyre lock up and with two laps to go the tyre let go and Randle had to pit for a spare, in the process dropping him from ninth back to 20th position at race end.
“Qualifying was a lot tighter on Sunday. On Saturday I was 0.25s of a second off pole and was second fastest, while on Sunday I was three tenths off the pole time yet wound up down in P8. The race unfortunately didn’t go our way. After a few big unexpected lock ups, I tried to save the car and the tyre, but unfortunately on the penultimate lap the tyre blew, and I had to pit for a spare. But those things happen, and it’s all part of my massive learning curve in Super2. Again, a big thanks to the boys at Tickford Racing and Rusty French for all their support. Roll on Sandown.”
Qualifying 1: 2nd
Race 1: 4th
Qualifying 2: 8th
Race 2: 20th (Puncture)
The next round of the Dunlop Super2 Series takes place at Sandown Raceway on the 14-16th of September.