RANDLE WINS TITLE BUT LOOKS BEYOND SINGLESEATERS
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.