NZ Performance Car - - Circuit Talk -

Thomas Ran­dle (20), be­came the first Aus­tralian to win the Castrol Toy­ota Rac­ing Se­ries in its 13-year his­tory, with a great demon­stra­tion of driv­ing at the New Zealand Grand Prix week­end in Fe­bru­ary, but in­di­cated that it could also be his last out­ing in sin­gle-seaters.

“It’s an amaz­ing re­lief,” said Ran­dle, who went into the fi­nal race of the cham­pi­onship one point be­hind Pe­dro Pi­quet (Brazil), who fin­ished fourth and one point in front of fifth-place fin­isher Richard Ver­schoor of the Nether­lands.

It was Ran­dle’s driv­ing in the morn­ing’s pre­lim­i­nary race that kept him in the ti­tle hunt af­ter he was shoved back from fifth to 12th on the first cor­ner.

“I went nuts af­ter that,” said Ran­dle, who carved his way back through the field over the 15 laps and made a last cor­ner, last lap pass of Fer­di­nand Zvon­imir von Hab­s­burg to claim fourth and vi­tal cham­pi­onship points. “That pass saved me the ti­tle,” he said.

How­ever, Ran­dle sug­gested the Grand Prix could have been his last sin­gle-seat drive, at just 20 years old, as he can­not raise the funds re­quired to con­tinue climb­ing the sin­gle­seater lad­der, so sports cars are look­ing like a more re­al­is­tic ca­reer op­tion. He will drive in the Bri­tish LMP3 GT se­ries for sports cars next sea­son — and there are prob­a­bly a few driv­ers quite glad he will not com­pete in For­mula 3 or For­mula Re­nault.

The week­end was packed with drama, in­clud­ing a fright­en­ing crash on Satur­day for Kiwi Bren­don Leitch (see be­low), though both he and, re­mark­ably, the car, were back on the grid for Sun­day’s pre­lim­i­nary race and Grand Prix.

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