Carrying the ITV4 cameras onboard his Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Tom Oliphant had all eyes on him last weekend at Rockingham in case he replicated his strong Snetterton form and scored more top ten finishes in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
However, issues in practice curtailed his running and therefore put him on the back foot compared to his rivals. Without too much track time, Tom headed into qualifying.
Whilst simultaneously catching up on running and trying to set a competitive lap time, Tom could only manage twenty-second on the timesheets leaving him with plenty of work to do on the Sunday.
In race one, Tom just about managed to avoid the incident at the second corner on the first lap. Running just outside of the points and aiming to challenge for those positions, contact with another driver forced the green Mercedes to pit for repairs. When Tom rejoined he came back out a lap down in twenty-fifth.
With work to do in the second race, thunder struck twice as he had to avoid another first lap incident. And with the bit between his teeth, Tom ran a strong pace into a seventeenth place finish at the flag.
What made the second race even more remarkable was that Tom ran the last three laps on a delaminated tyre which could have easily forced retirement if he wasn’t careful.
Tom highlighted his strong pace in the final race of the day as he capitalised on misfortune of other drivers and the speed of his Mercedes to jump to tenth on the opening lap.
Following the safety-car, he worked his way into ninth. However, a lack of grip with his Dunlop tyres saw him drop a few places to thirteenth at the flag. Considering the first two races, Tom was pleased to have gotten his eighth points scoring finish of 2018.
Despite a tough weekend, Tom takes away all the positives,
“I’ll take a points finish after what was a very difficult weekend.
The time we lost in free practice really hampered us, and then to be taken out in the first race robbed us of any chance to come away with some serious results on race day.
“I headed into qualifying a bit blind as I didn’t know exactly where the grip levels were, where to push in the braking zones etc, so it was no surprise to come away with a lower result than we wanted, which made our comeback on race day even more pleasing.
“We have loads of positives to take away from the weekend though and I’m excited to see what we can do at Knockhill.
“Everyone says the car is a strong package there and I’ve had some great pace in Scotland in the past, so I’m really looking forward to it!”