Thomas Randle will “take a lot of positives” out of his first weekend in the Dunlop Super2 Series despite it already being over after a shunt early in Race 1.
Randle sat ninth when the power steering on his Tickford Racing FGX Falcon failed as he attempted to round Adelaide’s infamous Turn 8 Sweeper.
The rookie careered into the concrete wall, causing chassis damage too extensive to repair at the circuit.
It had been a promising outing for the 21-year-old, whose only prior competitive running in Supercars machinery had been last year’s Queensland Raceway Kumho Tyre V8 Touring Car Series round.
Randle also had only limited Adelaide experience after slipping off on an oil slick during practice and burying Rusty French’s Mustang in the wall in a one-off start in Touring Car Masters 12 months ago.
He was sixth in combined Super2 practice and comfortably the fastest rookie, remaining the best of the first-timers in qualifying ninth for the opening race.
“I take a lot of positives because I didn’t really know where I was going to be going in,” Randle told Speedcafe.com.
“To be roughly about four or five tenths off the pace – well that’s where we should have been in quali (but for a mistake on his second new tyre run) – of the front guys, on a circuit I’d never really driven around, in a car I’d never driven around the circuit, I was really happy.
“The team have been nothing but supportive in terms of looking through data and onboard comparisons, and they’re just a great bunch of guys to work with.”
Randle said he had little warning of the failure, with the Ford only starting to blow smoke at turn-in.
“The car was mint, even at Turn 7, couldn’t smell any smoke, couldn’t see any smoke, and just headed into Turn 8 like normal,” he recalled.
“Actually, I backed off a bit early because (Chris) Pither and (Shae) Davies were battling and I knew he (Pither) was going to get a bit of aero wash and I wanted to try and sit back and then get the run.
“I didn’t even make it to the apex and that was all she wrote.
“But the guys have been fantastic all weekend, the car’s been bulletproof, both test days and so far this weekend, but this sort of stuff happens.
“It’s motor racing, and I’m sure we’ll get the Skye Sands Falcon out for Tasmania.”
The car is set to be sent back to Tickford’s Campbellfield base before tomorrow is out, and marks the team’s second big hit of the day at Turn 8.
Cameron Waters slapped the wall during Practice 2 for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, causing an even harder secondary impact on the opposite side of the circuit.
Despite the #6 Monster Energy Falcon wearing extensive damage to its right-front corner, Waters made a remarkable return to the track midway through Armor All Qualifying to earn 19th position on the starting grid for tomorrow’s opening race.
Paul Dumbrell took a narrow victory over Garry Jacobson in the Super2 opener, with Race 2 starting tomorrow at 1025 local time/1055 AEDT.