Tom Oliphant confirmed his presence in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup championship battle with victory in the final race at Snetterton, an encounter that saw title contenders Carl Breeze and Charlie Robertson both suffer spins.
Oliphant benefitted from a sheared wheel nut for pole-sitter David Pittard as they formed on the grid to start from provisional pole, with Pittard left retiring in the pits.
The Century Motorsport ace produced a great start to lead the field into Riches, leaving Breeze and Robertson to scrap over second behind. Robertson got a run around the outside heading into Palmer, and slight contact from Breeze sent himself sideways.
As Breeze fell to the back of the field, Robertson continued in second and the championship leader quickly closed onto Oliphant’s rear bumper in pursuit a third win of the weekend.
After hounding the leader throughout the race, with a couple of attempts to overtake at Riches proving unsuccessful, the HHC Motorsport racer made an all or nothing bid for the lead at Brundle on the penultimate lap.
A good run out of Williams allowed him to draw alongside down the Bentley Straight. Robertson aimed to hang it around the outside through the fast left hander, but a wheel on the grass was his downfall, spinning him down to the back of the field.
That gave Oliphant a comfortable final run to the flag for his second win of the season, moving him to within ten points of the championshp top three.
“Charlie [Robertson] was on me from the first lap and we instantly broke away, so he didn’t have to worry about anyone behind him and just had to pressure me,” Oliphant told TCF. “I knew he wouldn’t lunge and he had a couple of chances at turn one which he smartly backed out of.
“The one mistake I made allowed him around the outside of me and fair play to him, I knew he was going to try it. It was unlucky for him and it’s a shame as he deserved a podium. I cruised home from there, it’s great.”
Benefitting from the race’s drama meanwhile was Will Burns. The Academy Motorsport racer started fifth and after Pittard, Breeze and Robertson’s misfortune, he found himself with a comfortable second place finish, his best result of the season so far.
“The pace this weekend has been great,” commented Burns. “It was all handed to me in this race to be honest, everyone was going off in front of me and I just knew that if I maintained the gap to those behind and kept focus, I’d get a podium and I’m really pleased.”
A fierce battle played out behind for what eventually became the final podium place, with Jamie Orton’s holding the advantage early on. Luke Davenport initially led the charge to him, but the United Autosports racer lost out to Andrew Watson and team-mate Breeze on lap five.
Watson soon closed on Orton and got down the inside at Riches on lap nine. The Irishman made the move stick into Montreal, with Breeze seizing the opportunity to follow through, those two going on to finish third and fourth.
“I didn’t get a great start, but I think I drove a really good race, I picked off a couple of spots and Charlie going off in front gave me the final podium spot,” added Watson. “It’s nice to get a podium to cap off the weekend and I’ve got confidence high going to Knockhill.”
Orton took fifth at the finish, capping off his first weekend with HHC Motorsport with a third sixth place finish of the meeting. Davenport took seventh ahead of Reece Somerfield, with Dan Norris-Jones a distant ninth after a late spin at Murrays.
Robertson completed the finishers in tenth meanwhile after a trip through the pits to remove grass after his moment.
Provisional Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Championship Standings (After Rd.17 of 27):
1. Charlie Robertson – 440pts
2. Carl Breeze – 394pts
3. Andrew Watson – 378pts
4. David Pittard – 370pts
5. Tom Oliphant – 368pts
6. Luke Davenport – 294pts
7. Will Burns – 250pts
8. Jamie Orton – 239pts
9. Pepe Massot – 176pts
10. Dan Norris-Jones – 162pts