Randle top rookie on Masters of F3
British team Double R Racing enjoyed a strong return to international Formula 3 action during the 26th staging of the Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort in The Netherlands on Sunday, 21st August, with Thomas Randle finishing the 25 lap race as the top rookie in 11th position overall. The Australian, a winner this year in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, made his competitive debut in FIA specification F3 machinery this weekend at the wheel of one of Double R’s immaculately prepared Dallara-Mercedes cars.
Qualifying 15th fastest, the 20-year-old from Melbourne went on to finish the all-important Qualification Race on Saturday, 20th August, inside the top 12 before emerging as the highest placed rookie in 11th during the blue riband Masters contest on Sunday at the renowned Dutch track.
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, said Double R team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, 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. For the team, it was fantastic to be back in action with the FIA F3 cars for the first time this year and we’re all looking forward to Macau at the end of the year now. The plan is to run at least two cars there and try and repeat the podium we scored with Alex [Sims] last year.
From the head of the eighth row of the grid in Saturday’s Qualification Race, Randle swiftly gained two places and at the end of lap eight he was elevated into the top 12 as a result of Sam MacLeod pitting due to problems with his car – Randle remaining there to the finish on lap 12.
Despite rain on Sunday morning, any concerns over a wet race weren’t realised as conditions improved ahead of the main 25 lap Masters of F3 contest. From the sixth row of the grid, Randle made an excellent launch to immediately move into 11th place and ran tight behind Guanyu Zhou. Edged back to 12th place by MacLeod on the run out of the final corner at the end of lap one, Randle held position and into the second half of the race he started to come under some pressure from British driver Harrison Scott. An issue for Zhou, which led to a pit visit, elevated Randle’s Double R car into 11th place with seven laps remaining and he expertly kept Scott at arm’s length during the closing stages to seal the top rookie placing in 11th overall, 0.5 seconds ahead of his rival.
Double R Racing will be back on track next weekend, 27th/28th August, when its race-winning F4 British Championship team returns to action at Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit in the UK with Zane Goddard and Carrie Schreiner.