Thomas Randle took the rookie honours at the Zandvoort Masters of F3 last weekend, 20-21 August, as he competed in FIA European F3 machinery for the first time.
The Australian, who is very much still in title contention heading into the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship season finale, was one of four drivers who have competed in British F3 this year to race in the prestigious Masters event at the Dutch circuit.
“It was really good. It was a steep learning curve and a bit of an eye-opener but we had no big expectations going into the weekend,” said Randle who competed for Double R Racing.
“The competition was through the roof and you are up against some of the best drivers in Europe so it is a big challenge. By the end of the weekend we had stepped up though and to finish as the top rookie was awesome.”
The result was all the more impressive given that Randle hadn’t tested prior to the event, with his only experience in an FIA European F3 car dating back to last December.
“We didn’t have any testing and Double R hadn’t raced the car since Macau last year,” Randle said.
“All the other teams had been to Zandvoort before and heading into qualifying we had only done 20 laps.”
Randle finished the 2nd race of the weekend in 11th, one place ahead of Scott in 12th with Herta and Vaidyanathan 13th and 15th respectively.
Double R Racing boss, Anthony Hieatt, was impressed with Randle’s performance.
“We’re very pleased with how Thomas performed throughout the weekend, he did a very good job on his first time out in the FIA-spec Dallara,” Hieatt said.
“It was very much a case of being in at the deep end without much in the way of testing, but he approached the weekend very professionally and to come away as the top rookie was a great result.”
After his Zandvoort experience, the focus is very much back on to the BRDC British F3 title fight now for Randle, as he sits third in the overall standings 51 points adrift of championship leader Ricky Collard.
“It was good to get away and have a weekend with relatively little pressure,” Randle said.
“There was no expectation on me so I was just trying to improve but now the focus is back on British F3. I am really looking forward to Donington Park now!”
The final round of the 2016 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship partnered by Duo takes place at Donington Park on September 10/11.