Norfolk racer Randle stars in New Zealand series
- Credit: Archant
Thomas Randle has recently returned to Norfolk after a successful winter in New Zealand, where he wrapped up the Toyota Racing Series title in dramatic fashion.
Randle started the final race in the series in a three-way shoot-out for the crown with Brazilian Pedro Piquet and Dutch racer Richard Verschoor in a winner-takes-all contest.
However earlier in the day it had looked forlorn for Randle who had to demonstrate a gritty determination to overcome an incident at the first corner of race two which saw him drop 10 places to 15th and out of title contention.
'I thought it was all over by turn one, then I stormed from 15th back to fourth. I don't know how I did that - I could probably never do it again,' admitted Randle after the drive of his life.
The fightback into the title race saw Randle make a last corner overtaking manoeuvre on Ferdinand Habsburg to snatch fourth place.
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'I think that the outside move on Habsburg was the championship-winning move, it's what got me in contention again,' reflected the newly crowned champion.
In the final race Piquet, son of three times Formula One champion Nelson Piquet, led the three contestants in third place with Randle and Verschoor following in the Brazilian's wheel tracks.
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As the race progressed Piquet tried and failed to take second place from Marcus Armstrong, leaving himself exposed to Randle who slipped past and into a title winning position.
'I just decided to do the smartest thing and stay behind Marcus in his tow,' said the Kenninghall racer before fighting off Piquet's late race challenge to take the title by five points, while Verschoor ended up a distant fifth.
Randle will now concentrate on racing in the new British LMP3 Cup Championship, partnering Mike Newbould in the Douglas Motorsport Ligier JS P3 sports prototype.
'I am extremely excited to be racing alongside Mike in the British LMP3 Cup Championship,' confirmed the local ace. 'It has always been a dream of mine to be a professional driver in Europe, and I can't thank Mike and Douglas Motorsport enough for offering me this incredible opportunity'.