Randle, Courtney unfazed by test day wheel hiccup

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 21/02/2021
  • By James Pavey

Thomas Randle and James Courtney were unfazed by a loose wheel drama for the former in official pre-season testing at Winton on Friday.

Randle, 24, was sharing the #44 Boost Mobile Mustang with Courtney and was forced to pull over the car midway through the day.

The red flag was called just over five hours into the session, with recovery vehicles dispatched in order to recover the car from the infield near Turn 5.

It came following a practice pit stop, but the car returned to the session in the hands of Courtney an hour later, with the #44 ending the day ninth on the time sheets

Randle told Supercars.com that there was minor damage in the incident, but it didn't take away from his positive return behind the wheel of a Tickford Supercar.

"We were just working through James' programme, and [engineer] Brad Wischusen gave me a couple of runs on hard and soft tyres," explained the reigning Super2 champion, who was recently given the all-clear to return to racing following a battle with testicular cancer.

"We were just doing some pit stop practice. The wheel nearly completely came off, we don't know why, maybe the nut may have failed.

"But there wasn't much damage, it damaged the brake rotor, pegs and some other things, but nothing major.

"It was nice to get back in one of these cars, I hadn't driven a Tickford Mustang in anger since 2019."

The team quickly returned the car to the session, with the #44 entry completing 111 laps of the regional Victorian circuit.

Friday's test marked a crucial day of learning for Tickford, with the team chasing its first championship since 2015.

Cameron Waters, who was runner-up in 2020, helped the #6 Monster Energy Mustang to a day-high 135 laps.

The day was key for Courtney, who will have a new engineer in Wischusen after Brendan Hogan shifted to the new Blanchard Racing Team.

The loose wheel cost Courtney nearly an hour of running for the #44, but the 2010 champion was pleased to complete an otherwise strong day ahead of his first full season with Tickford.

"It's good to finally drive the car in anger, the first time this year, which is a great feeling," the 40-year-old said.

"It's good to be back around the team and working with the boys again.

"My first time working with Brad, obviously last year with Brendan, but it’s really good.

"That relationship is in its infancy but [we're] getting along really well, I worked closely with him last year as well.

"I think it was a really productive day today, we had quite an extensive programme.

"We lost a little bit of time in the middle part of the day with a little drama that we had when Thomas was driving the car, but all in all I think it was a really productive day."

Courtney will commence his 2021 campaign at the Repco Mt Panorama 500 next week.

Cars will hit the track on Friday for opening practice of the Repco Mt Panorama 500. Tickets are on sale now.

This weekend’s event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and the Seven Network, and will be streamed on Kayo. Check out the full TV schedule here.

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