Thomas Randle’s Suprcars development took another key step at the OTR SuperSprint following a weekend which featured a career-best solo main game race result.
The 2020 Dunlop Super2 Series champion finished eighth in the chaotic Race 10, sandwiched by finishes of 17th and 15th in Races 9 and 11.
Randle, who will co-drive one of Tickord Racing’s three main game entries at October’s Bathurst 1000, was one of two wildcards on track at The Bend Motorsport Park.
Walkinshaw Andretti United fielded a third entry for Kurt Kostecki, who recorded finishes of 19th, 16th and 23rd.
WATCH: RECAP OF RANDLE’S CAREER-BEST RACE
For Randle, the weekend marked another key opportunity to sharpen his skills ahead of a possible main game seat for 2022.
"I'm learning to try and manage tyres, which is a cliché answer in Supercars, but I also need to maximise the green tyre in qualifying,” he said.
"This weekend was my first qualifying session I’ve ever done on a soft tyre, and when I go to Darwin, I think it might be the super soft.
“It’s another new tyre and a track I’ve never raced at.
“But I’ve been to Barbagallo twice, there’s lots of new experiences coming but at least we have a bank of data.
"I have plenty of time to look through and see where I can focus on for the next round."
Randle avoided the chaotic start to Race 10, which saw Tickford’s leading light Cameron Waters taken out of contention.
Tickford’s mechanics worked feverishly to return Waters to the grid for Race 11, which he won ahead of series leader Shane van Gisbergen.
Tickford has yet to confirm its co-driving line-ups for October’s Great Race, despite Randle, James Moffat and Alex Premat all already signed to the team.
Randle notably ran James Courtney’s #44 Boost Mobile Racing Mustang at official pre-season testing in February.
WATCH: ALL ANGLES OF RACE 10 START CHAOS
When asked if he would possibly share the #6 Monster Energy Mustang with Waters, who has so far proven to be Tickford’s lead charge, Randle remained coy.
“You will have to ask Tim [Edwards, team boss],” the 25-year-old quipped.
“Cam may or may not be my co-driver, you will have to wait and see.”
Randle shared the #R&J Batteries Brad Jones Racing entry with Nick Percat at last year’s Bathurst 1000, but made a swift return to Tickford’s ranks for 2021.
Lee Holdsworth, who was left without a full-time drive after Tickford downscaled to three cars in 2021, secured a co-driver role with Chaz Mostert in the #25 WAU entry.
Will Davison, who helped Waters to second in last year’s Bathurst 1000, is now leading the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s 2021 charge.
Randle, who will return behind the wheel of his Castrol-backed wildcard entry in Darwin, again glazed over his co-driver duties, instead casting his focus to next month’s visit to Hidden Valley.
"Don’t start trying to throw the other guys in there, your co-driver had a good win?” interviewer Garth Tander quipped.
"You don’t know for sure, do you?" laughed Randle.
"Let’s just go back to our weekend, it was great working with the boys, it’s been eight months since I’ve done a Supercars race and it’s been a lot of new experiences.”
The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Victoria for the Winton SuperSprint across May 28-30. Tickets are available here.
The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.