Ricciardo-like move a highlight for wildcard Randle

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 23/06/2021
  • By James Pavey

A Daniel Ricciardo-like overtake in the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown finale was a bright endnote on another standout weekend for Thomas Randle.

The reigning Super2 champion’s second wildcard weekend of 2021 began with the news Tickford Racing had locked him in for a 2022 full-time drive.

On Saturday, Randle avoided the chaotic start to record ninth in Race 12, having started 17th.

With Kurt Kostecki sixth, it ensured both wildcards had scored top 10 finishes.

Mechanical dramas saw the #55 Castrol Mustang seven laps off the pace, before he again impressed to 11th in the finale.

Speaking to Supercars, Randle was delighted with his strong Saturday performance, even if it was aided by the first corner, first lap melee.

WATCH: RANDLE'S EPIC PASS

“In a way, it probably wasn’t a fully genuine ninth, because some big contenders went out at Turn 1,” he said.

“Anton, Frosty, Scotty, Whincup went off avoiding it. Everyone at the front was virtually wiped out.

“Jamie continued and I managed to get out in front of him in the stops, and I stayed there, which was a highlight of that race.

“The good thing about making the chequered flag in that first race was it gave me a chance to understand the tyre deg.

“With the pit stop, I was able to feel the phasing of putting rear tyres on.

“In hindsight, it’s good I made that mistake in the pits, because I know how to rectify it.”

'I held my own and made up spots'

Randle was a standout at the OTR SuperSprint, again avoiding drama in the first Sunday race to finish eighth.

After his car let him down in the Sunday morning race in Darwin, Randle had a point to prove.

Chasing Erebus Motorsport rookie Will Brown with five laps remaining, Randle bowled a wide and opened the door to Anton De Pasquale, who had dropped places after a stall in the pits.

Randle and De Pasquale dragged to Turn 1, with the former shifting from right to left to reclaim the position.

It was a bold move, much like the one Shane van Gisbergen pulled on the same driver a day earlier, which led to the dramatic pile-up.

Randle said his own effort on the #11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustang was inspired by both van Gisbergen and late-braking aficionado Ricciardo.

WATCH: RACE 12 CHAOTIC START

“After Shane did it to him the day before, I’m surprised he let me do it,” Randle said of De Pasquale.

“I think he wasn’t expecting it, and I wanted to leave it as late as possible.

“If I slotted in behind him too early, he would’ve known exactly what I was up to.

“Ricciardo’s done that move before… after seeing SVG do it on Saturday, I thought there was obviously grip there.

“If Shane can get it done, why can’t anyone else?”

While he rued small mistakes across the weekend, such as his own stall in the lane on Saturday, and the error which opened the door for De Pasquale, Randle was pleased to reward himself and his team for their hard work.

The 25-year-old, who is studying a degree in mechanical engineering, will now have to wait until September’s Bunnings Trade Perth SuperNight to get back behind the wheel of his green Mustang.

Until then, he will be buoyed by another solid weekend behind the wheel as he shapes up for the biggest step of his career in 2022.

De Pasquale attacks Randle

“After making that mistake, I said to myself, ‘The weekend can’t end like this’,” he said.

“I put all the hard work in, and it was the first race I’ve had as a main game solo driver where I’d moved up positions in the race before the stops.

“I didn’t get bullied at the start, I held my own and made up spots.

“It was nice to get out of the car and feel like we maximised what we had, bat my little mistake at the last corner.

“Will was making mistakes, but not in the places I wanted him to. Then I made a mistake myself, and it led to that cool exchange with Anton.”

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to North Queensland for the NTI Townsville 500 across July 9-11. Tickets are available here.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo, and will be broadcast live and free on Seven.

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