Thomas Randle has emerged slightly beaten and battered, but otherwise unscathed after what he called a “character building” opening weekend as a full-time racer in the Supercars Championship.
Played out in driving rain at Sydney Motorsport Park, Randle fulfilled his goal to finish both races – but has much to work on for the rest of the season.
The 25 year old qualified 19th and then slipped to 20th in the opening race under lights on Saturday night.
He then qualified 20th for race two on Sunday morning in driving rain before a more promising drive through the field to finish 14th.
After the opening weekend of the Supercars Championship he sits 17th in the standings.
Although the results weren’t perfect, the championship rookie said there were still some positives to walk away with.
“It obviously was a big moment, but in a way, it didn’t actually feel much different to doing a wildcard because I was still out there with the same guys,” Randle told Speedcafe.com.
“The biggest difference was I was finally with the team, I wasn’t down the other end of pit lane, and was more integrated with the guys.
“It’s obviously been a dream of mine to make it to the main stage. I’ve ticked off my first round and got through two 300km races.
“It’s a pretty brutal initiation. I’ve done three wildcards and Bathurst, but to have the first round as 300km races is pretty intense, so I’m just glad I came home with a straight car.
“It would’ve been nice to get more points. Obviously, Sydney has been a tricky track, to say the least, for our team.
“Add that to the fact that it was my first round in the main game at a track that we’ve historically struggled at, maybe the results didn’t look as good as they could’ve been.
“In saying that, I think we had a much better Sunday race than Saturday. There are a lot of factors that go into rating the weekend. There are things on my side I should’ve done better, and I think overall I think we could’ve done a better job.
“Now that it’s out of the way and we’ve gone through stuff, I’m looking forward to Tassie. Cam[eron Waters] got a couple of pole positions there last year, so the car has got good one-lap speed there. It’s just working on race pace now.”
“As always – I’d just like to thank Castrol and BP who have shown such enormous belief in me to back me this year at Tickford, plus my other supporters: Herzog Steel, ACT Fence Hire and Infinium Advisory.”
Round 2 of the Supercars championship is at Tasmania’s Symmons Plains on March 26 and 27.