FIRST F4 ROUND WIN FOR OPEN WHEEL ACE
After a strong podium scoring second round of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship at Queensland Raceway three weeks ago, DREAM Motorsport 19-year-old Thomas Randle claimed his first overall event win at the third round of the championship held at Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend. Claiming his third pole position in as many meetings, Randle recorded a trio of second place finishes to claim the round win, and in doing so, reduced the championship points margin to 35 points with four race meetings still to be contested.
Overnight rain left the 3.9k circuit wet for the early morning qualifying session, with drivers happy to sit out the majority of the session in pit lane. A late flurry of times saw Randle and title leader Jordan Lloyd exchanging the top spot as times tumbled on a drying track. For lap after lap Lloyd would set a time that Randle would as good as instantly eclipse, with Randle ultimately grabbing the pole spot on his final flying lap, and by a significant 0.48s margin.
RACE 1 (Grid set by first qualifying session times) Start: 1st Finish: 2nd
A solid start by both front-two qualifiers saw the cars side by side initially, before Lloyd won the drag race to the first turn – a high-speed left hand bend – but not without near contact between the two after Lloyd squeezed Randle hard in his attempt to foil a run into the second turn hairpin. Thereafter the pair ran nose to tail for the race, and in doing so, pulled out a 10s margin to the third placed car. Try as he might Randle could not find a way past, greeting the chequered flag in second place after 14 frantic laps that saw the lap record broken a numerous occasions.
RACE 2 (Grid the reverse top six from R1 result) Start: 5th Finish: 2nd
Wet conditions greeted the field for Sunday morning’s second encounter and the field slithered away in what would prove to be a baptism for all of the Formula 4 youngsters. Randle made a good start and forged into position two by lap three, setting the fastest laps of the race during the early running. Unfortunately, the hard early driving saw the tyre pressures sky-rocket with a resultant lack of grip becoming increasingly worse as the race wore on. Second place was a solid result, and with title leader Lloyd being given a pit lane penalty for a mid-race incident, Randle would lead the weekend points haul heading into the final race.
RACE 3 (Grid set by second fastest qualifying lap) Start: 1st Finish: 2nd
Randle started the final race, reduced to 13 laps due to time constraints, in fine style and bolted ahead early before more tyre pressure issues saw his mid-race pace start to fade. After defending Lloyd for as long as he could the title leader found a way by on lap nine, and Tom settled for second place, comfortable in the knowledge that he would win the round.
With four title rounds, 12 races and over 320 points still up for grabs, Thomas sits 35 points behind Lloyd and 32 points ahead of third placed driver, Nick Rowe.
Thomas Randle: “In some ways we had a frustrating start to the weekend, with electrical issues hurting us throughout Friday practice, but we stuck to our guns and bounced back really well for qualifying and racing. It’s great to get my first round win and our early pace in the wet was fantastic, but being the first wet running we have done we were all pioneering there somewhat. Sandown is up next and I know that track well so I’ll be looking to continue to score as many points as possible so I can take this title fight right up to Jordan Lloyd.”
Round 4 of the seven round CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship will be held at Sandown International Motor Raceway, Melbourne during the weekend of September 11-13.