Reigning Super2 champion Thomas Randle has high hopes ahead of this weekend’s highly anticipated Supercars round at Darwin’s Hidden Valley.
After his promising return last month at South Australia’s Tailem Bend, Randle is hoping to again surprise before his second Wildcard appearance of the season in Australia’s premier motorsport category,
“The Bend was a huge buzz for me and to do well was enormously satisfying,” Randle said before leaving for the Northern Territory.
“I set the bar high at the Bend to try and get a top ten result and we were able to achieve that – so again my expectations are to try and match that.
“If we can aim to be around P10 to P14 in qualifying then that’s the goal – anything better than that would be fantastic – and the absolute ultimate goal would be a top 5 or top 6.”
Randle achieved an eighth place finish in race two of the Tailem Bend weekend to grab the attention of those in the sport’s pitlane.
He will again wear the Castrol colours in his Tickford Racing prepped Ford Mustang.
“It was humbling to get plenty of pats on the back after our first wildcard effort, so the drive to again top that is enormous,” Randle explained.
“But in this sport you just can’t underestimate the competition – it’s the best touring car category in the world for a reason.
“I just have to maximise all the speed in the car, I have to learn on the run with this being my first time to Darwin, we need a little bit of luck as well – and hopefully we’ll find ourselves in a good position.”
It will be the 25 year old’s first appearance at the Hidden Valley circuit – which provides one of the most popular race weekends on the Supercars calendar.
This weekend will see the return of large crowds for the fifth round of the series with warm weather and high humidity forecast.
“Darwin will be a huge challenge for a couple of reasons,” Randle explained.
“One – I’ve never raced there before so it will be a race to get my head around that – and thankfully this weekend we are back to a three day show – so I get time to process following our two Friday practice sessions.
“Two, we have the series debut of a new tyre compound – Winton postponed last month actually worked in our favour because this weekend everyone will debut with the new super soft tyre together – so we will have lots of grip, but the tyres won’t last long which will be the juggling for all teams and drivers.
“Three, it’ll be super hot and I hope that cool suit is working – it’s not the temperature that is the concern, it’s more the high humidity that knocks everyone around across the three races.”
Opening practice for the three day event begins on Friday, with the first of three 38 lap races on Saturday afternoon.
All of the action can be seen across the Seven Network and Fox Sports.
“We’ve been in New South Wales for a couple of weeks now to ensure we are allowed into the NT after the COVID scare back home,” the Victorian said.
“I’m just thrilled to be back running in the Castrol Mustang again.
“I also have to thank the team at ACT Fence Hire, and Herzog Steel for all of their support in getting this program running.– including Tradie, Skye Sands and Ryco Filters.”
Weekend Schedule: *Times in ACST*
Practice 1: Fri 11:25am
Practice 2: Fri 1:20pm
Three Part Qualifying: Sat 11:35am
Race 12: Sat 3:25pm (38 Laps)
Qualifying Race 13: Sun 9:15am
Qualifying Race 14: Sun 9:30am
Race 13: Sun 11:55am (38 Laps)
Race 14: Sun 3:25pm (38 Laps)