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RANDLE REFLECTS ON ‘WORST NIGHTMARE’

A BATTERED and bruised Thomas Randle has opened up on his terrifying incident at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Randle experienced a brutal hero-to-zero moment yesterday when he stalled on the front row of the grid for Race 22 of the Repco Supercars Championship.

Several cars managed to avoid the motionless Mustang but not Andre Heimgartner, who ploughed into the back of the Castrol Racing #55 at relatively high speed.

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Already, Tickford Racing is resigned to the fact a chassis switch will be necessary for Randle to line up at Sandown in less than three weeks.

The 2020 Super2 champion was transported to hospital for a time but is well enough to still be planning to travel to the United Kingdom with engineer Raymond Lau this weekend to work with renowned driver coach Rob Wilson.

“My left foot is a bit sore and my knees are a bit bruised – they pushed the steering wheel and the steering column up quite a fair bit on impact, so they’re quite sore,” Randle told V8 Sleuth.

“I think the back of my arm grabbed the seat but it’s nothing major.

“I’ve been through far worse in my life, so nothing to complain about but obviously it was quite a big hit and I’m just glad that Andre is also okay.”

Onboard vision showed Randle putting his hands up after stalling – something he says was an instinctive reaction from his open-wheeler days.

Thomas Randle. Pic: Tickford Racing

“I kind of had a feeling that something was going to happen,” he recalled.

“It’s probably a driver’s worst nightmare to stall on the grid, especially when you’re on the front row. If you were on the back row, it wouldn’t matter, but front row is the most chance of getting hit.

“It was obviously not what anyone wanted but I’m not really sure what else I could have done in that situation.

“As soon as it sort of happened and I grasped the situation, I just tried to brace myself and cross my arms.

“I put my arms up first – it was actually a bit of an open-wheel reaction, you put your hands in the air to say you’ve stalled, that was the initial kneejerk response, but I guess that’s probably not much use in a tin top because nobody is going to see that.”

Randle is still puzzled by what exactly caused the stall.

“I don’t really understand what happened, I don’t know whether it overheated or something, because it stalled before the lights went out. My foot was on the clutch pedal,” he said.

“I’d have to investigate what went wrong there, which I’m sure the team will do, because I felt like I treated it like any other start.”

Regardless, there are plenty of positives for the 26-year-old to take from Tailem Bend, having enjoyed the best qualifying run of his young career (11th, second and eighth for the three races).

“It’s certainly a confidence builder,” he said.

“I was pretty happy with how it went and I think we can just build on that for the rest of the year – unfortunately it is just going to be in a different car, but at the end of the day that doesn’t matter.

“It’s just a shame for the guys that I have just given them a lot more work that they shouldn’t have to be doing, so I just feel bad on that front, but the speed is finally coming together.”

After a points-less Sunday, Randle has dropped to 23rd in the championship standings.

Sandown hosts Round 9 of the season across August 19-21.

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