Thomas Randle has escaped injury after a horrifying crash during the weekend’s Supercars round at South Australia’s Tailem Bend.
It was a bittersweet moment for the rookie racer who earlier on Sunday had posted his best moment in the sport – qualifying on the front row of the grid.
But his joy and optimism turned to complete despair with a stalled start and a monster shunt with Andre Heimgartner.
“It was a big one, there’s no denying that – I’m thankful to get out of such a horrible crash in one piece,” Randle said.
“It’s the hardest hit I’ve had, and a few days on I’m still a bit sore and feeling a bit sorry for myself and my team, but we’ll keep fighting.
“We had such high hopes for the race and we never really moved an inch – which is so deflating!”
Randle went to Royal Adelaide Hospital with Heimgartner following the crash on Sunday for precautionary scans and returned for further scans on his foot a day later – just to check he was OK.
“My foot took a pounding, and my heel and ankle were sore for a few days after, but I’m fine – looking back on the replays it could have been so much worse.
“As a sport I think we’re really just thankful these modern cars and having the fuel cell in front of the rear axle meant it held intact and there was no inferno.”
The rookie racer did want to make special mention of those who helped him immediately after impact was made.
“I really want to thank Dr Carl Le, all the medical team, the volunteer officials and the fire marshals who were so good looking after both Andre and I,” Randle said.
“They were inside my door within seconds of the impact which is so reassuring.
“And I’d just like to thank everyone who has reached out over the past couple of days – it’s been a real whirlwind – but it means a hell of a lot.”
While Randle emerged in one piece – the same can’t be said for his Ford Mustang.
The 26 year-old will revert to Tickford’s wildcard entrant Zak Best’s Mustang for the next round of the Supercars championship at Sandown later in the month.
The car heavily damaged has returned to Tickford’s Broadmeadows base where it has since been stripped and will be repaired.
“It’s a huge shame for so many reasons with what happened – but especially with the workload it now means for the boys and girls at Tickford,” Randle said.
“I’ll obviously be in Zak’s car now for Sandown and we’ll wait and see what they can do with repairing that car from the Bend.”
It was a blow for Randle after a really promising set of results leading up to the heavy crash.
Randle qualified 11th and finished 11th in the opening Saturday race, before qualifying second and eighth for the pair of Sunday races.
“This sport is so brutal at times – our best run of our maiden season was then followed up with my worst moment in the sport,” Randle said.
“But Zak’s car showed great speed at the Bend so there’s no reason for us not to still be up the front come Sandown.
“I’d just like to thank Castrol and BP, plus Herzog Steel, ACT Fence Hire, Infinium Advisory, Gerald Slaven and DeVilbiss for believing in me and sticking by me… we showed some good signs, so I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum forward for the next one.”
The Sandown SuperSprint begins in Melbourne on August 19.