Randle set to revert to Best Supercar chassis for Sandown

Thomas Randle’s Ford Mustang. Picture: Ross Gibb

Thomas Randle is set to revert to Zak Best’s Ford Mustang at this month’s Sandown Supercars event after his big startline shunt at The Bend.

The Tickford Racing driver stalled on the outside of Row 1 at the start of Race 22 at the OTR SuperSprint and was ploughed into by Andre Heimgartner, who started five rows behind the #55 Mustang.

Both drivers have been released from hospital after undergoing precautionary checks following what Heimgartner reported was a 38 g impact, although Randle is understood to be in for an MRI scan on his heel today.

As for the Tickford rookie’s chassis, that will be out of action for the time being, although a full prognosis will be known after it is stripped at the squad’s Campbellfield base tomorrow.

“We’ll strip it on Tuesday, we’ll put it back on the jig, do what we always do, just keep cutting metal back until it’s not bent metal and then we’ll just replenish that with new metal,” said team principal Tim Edwards, post-Race 23.

“There’s no way he’ll be driving that car at Sandown.

“He’ll jump in the wildcard car, which is actually our spare car, and then at some point later in the year, we’ll make a call whether we put him back into the repaired car or just keep him in that car.”

The crash led to conjecture about just how well the incar warning system worked, with Shane van Gisbergen and Brodie Kostecki claiming the stall light came on too late, but Nick Percat, who started a row behind Heimgartner, suggesting that he saw it in time.

As for Best, he contested the Winton and Tailem Bend events as a wildcard, his first starts as a solo driver in the Repco Supercars Championship, which took Tickford to five cars on the grid.

It will once again field five Fords at Sandown, although Best will be back in his usual FGX Falcon ride in the Dunlop Super2 Series rather than in the top tier.

The 20-year-old pulled off a shock pole position ahead of Race 21 of the Supercars Championship season at The Bend.

The performance aroused controversy considering the disparity in tyre batches which were issued to the weekend’s two wildcard entries, prompting Supercars to redistribute rubber in order to ensure a level playing field for Sunday’s action.

Then, Best would qualify only 16th for Race 22, but earned seventh in the grid in the session immediately after, putting him third of the Tickford drivers.

His race results for the weekend read fifth, 19th, and DNF, the latter due to a wiper motor failure in a wet conclusion to The Bend event.

According to Edwards, said seventh in qualifying “kind of put all the haters to ease” following the tyre controversy.

The Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint takes place on August 19-21, while Randle’s primary chassis will return to competition no earlier than the ITM Auckland SuperSprint on September 9-11.

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