Tom Oliphant continued his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rookie year with his best qualifying position and one of his best race results last weekend at Knockhill.
The Ciceley Motorsport driver was taking to the Knockhill track for the first time in front-wheel drive machinery and two top eight times in both free practice sessions highlighted a speed that might have been fruitful for qualifying.
In qualifying, Tom was once again a face within the top ten as his fastest time placed him seventh on the grid for race one. His best qualifying ever in the BTCC was also his fifth top ten qualifying position this season.
Sunday rolled around and so did horrendous conditions. Despite falling to ninth at the start, Tom begun a fightback in his green Mercedes-Benz A-Class and made easy work of Chris Smiley for eighth.
Nearing the end of the race, an incident ahead of him meant that he grabbed back his seventh place and crossed the line to take his best ever BTCC finish. This was also his fourth top ten finish of the year, something that is becoming a regular occurrence for the Ciceley driver.
Sadly in race two, the conditions were too treacherous and after two off track excursions, the second of which beached Tom in the gravel trap at the hairpin, Tom was forced to retire and have to start from the back of the grid for race three.
From twenty-sixth on the grid, Tom passed three cars by the time the safety car came out. However, a mechanical issue with his Mercedes meant he had to pit.
Despite this, once he rejoined the circuit, he began a drive to catch up to the pack and by the time he reached the flag, he finished in twenty-first place.
In a very mixed weekend. Tom commented,
“It’s been an up and down weekend overall, but I come away really pleased with the pace we have shown.
“To finish both free practice sessions in the top eight without new tyres, and then convert it into a season’s best seventh in qualifying was fantastic.
“The change of weather made the opening race a real challenge, but I was learning the track and conditions with everyone else and our pace was strong. I was able to pull clear of the pack and stay with the top six, which is a great result for us.
“got no damage across the three races and have come away knowing that we had the pace to finish inside the top ten in all three races. Hopefully luck will finally come my way soon and we can enjoy a great end to the season.”