Randle returns for NZ Grand Prix

| Photographer Credit: Bruce Jenkins

Australian Thomas Randle will become the 17th international driver from 13 different countries when he competes in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild, this weekend.

Randle came 10th in the Toyota Racing Series last summer when he raced at all five rounds, finishing third at Ruapuna and Taupo. His appearance this weekend on the Victory Motor Racing team will be his only outing this year.

The 19 year old Melbourne driver finished runner-up in the Australian Formula Four Championship last year after racing in the Toyota Racing Series, with seven wins and another eight podiums in the 21 races.

“I have really wanted to make a return to the series after a great first year in 2015 which was my wings and slicks debut,” said Randle.

“I feel like I have gained more experience since then and hopefully I am able to challenge the front guys.”

Randle’s return has been welcomed by Barrie Thomlinson, the Director of Toyota Racing Management which negotiates with the drivers and organises the cars on behalf of Toyota New Zealand.

“I was disappointed that Thomas didn’t return for a full series campaign,” said Mr Thomlinson. “He was one of the standout rookies last year and I felt he would have been a serious title contender had he returned for the full series in 2016, so it’s great to welcome him back for the New Zealand Grand Prix.”

Randle won the Australian Formula Ford title in 2014 after a career in Karts and also spent last year competing in Sports Sedans where he finished third in a five round, 15 race series, winning twice and scoring eight other podiums.

Randle’s entry for the Grand Prix brings the field to 20 drivers.

English teenager Lando Norris goes into the final three races of the Toyota Racing Series at Manfeild with an 86 points lead over Brazilian Pedro Piquet with Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou a further 15 points back in third.

Top Kiwi Brendon Leitch lies fifth, but still has an opportunity to leap frog Zhou and fourth placed Jehan Daruvala to finish the championship in the top three, such is the closeness of the competition, which has seen positions change after every race.

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