Motorsport: Randle back in title frame

By Dale Budge

Thomas Randle in action at Hampton Downs over the weekend. Photo / Matthew Hansen
Thomas Randle in action at Hampton Downs over the weekend. Photo / Matthew Hansen

Australian driver Thomas Randle's dominant weekend at Hampton Downs has thrown the Toyota Racing Series wide open with two rounds remaining.

Randle won the New Zealand Motor Cup and more than halved Dutchman Richard Verschoor's championship lead in a superb display at the North Waikato track.

The 20-year-old became the first Australian to have his name engraved in the famous Cup since Warwick Brown lifted it back in 1975.

"We had the speed all the way through weekend - on Friday we topped all the timesheets, qualified on pole in both races and won the round," a delighted Randle told herald.co.nz.

"It is a surreal feeling.

"This afternoon, before the race, I went up and had a look at the trophy and saw the names - Keke Rosberg, John Surtees, Bruce McLaren - to have my name on there is absolutely unreal."

Despite comprehensively proving to be the fastest car all weekend Randle was worried the out-right speed his Victory Motorsport car possessed would be wasted with results not going his way in the first two races.

"The first race we were on pole and the track was breaking up at turn two and I didn't know and we ended up coming third. The second race I started fourth and came seventh and the weekend wasn't looking good but some of our competitors fell by the wayside in the last one so we ended up winning the round and the New Zealand Motor Cup."

Red Bull driver Richard Verschoor tangled with leading Kiwi hope Marcus Armstrong in the feature race - knocking the New Zealander out of the race and eliminating him from championship equations while also forcing the series leader to the back of the pack. He recovered to cross the line 12th before receiving a post-race penalty for his role in the incident to end up 16th.

It brings Randle right back into the fight for the title.

"We were 70-odd points behind - he was involved in a crash and finished near the back end of the field so that is good for me," Randle said.

"Hopefully we can carry this form into Taupo and get the lead of the championship.

"We have been deprived of a few race wins lately so to finally get one legitimately is awesome and it just boosts my confidence going into Taupo."

Two rounds remain - next weekend at Taupo and the New Zealand Grand Prix round at Manfeild in a fortnight.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 24 May 2017 02:17:25 Processing Time: 271ms