Thomas Randle dominated the final heat of the opening round of the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship at Symmons Plains.

The 24-year-old set up a comprehensive lights-to-flag win when he jumped polesitter Joey Mawson at the start.

He then swiftly gapped the chasing the field led by Race 2 winner Tim Macrow, who also jumped Mawson at the start, before building to a final winning margin of 3.4s.

The win capped off an inspiring return to motorsport for Randle after he spent the off-season undergoing surgery and two bouts of chemotherapy in his battle with testicular cancer.

“I was on the reserve tank, I think,” said Randle, referencing his lack of race fitness after his stint in hospital.

“The most important thing was to be on the front row and to get the start. That was what won us the race. Team BRM gave me a phenomenal car all weekend.

“It’s been a great way to come back to the track after the last few months, it’s awesome to get this result.”

As was the case in Race 2 the highlight was the battle between Joey Mawson and James Golding.

This time the pair spent almost the entire race scrapping over third, until with three laps to go when Golding locked up into the hairpin and hit Mawson’s rear.

Golding then spun into the gravel, while Mawson managed to continue but lost his third place to Nathan Herne.

Randle leaves Tasmania with the early advantage in the first Australian Drivers’ Championship season since 2014, his lead 11 points over Macrow and 22 over Mawson.

The series continues at Phillip Island on February 19-21.

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