Top ten Tom. Oliphant racks up the strong finishes

by Stuart Richards
Tom Oliphant BTCC

Tom Oliphant has been keeping up a string of strong performances recently in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and the Ciceley Motorsport driver hoped that this trend was to continue at Silverstone.

Following his best ever finish of seventh at Knockhill, Tom was brimming with confidence heading to the Northamptonshire circuit.

Free practice one couldn’t have gone better for the twenty-eight year old as he topped the timesheets of a BTCC session for the first time in his career. A great effort by a driver who has been improving as the season has gone on.

However, qualifying was a different story as a tyre strategy saw Tom qualify just outside of the top ten positions in twelfth. The closeness of qualifying was illustrated by the fact that he was only two tenths off of pole position, practically nothing in real world terms.

Despite contact on lap one of the first race dropping Tom to eighteenth, the pace of the green Ciceley Mercedes-Benz was used to full effect in the recovery drive as some top quality overtaking manoeuvres gave him ninth place at the flag. A great finish considering what had happened at the start.

This was also his fifth top ten finish of the season and with three more races still to come, expect this number to grow.

Tom Oliphant BTCC

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

A battle with championship elect Colin Turkington was the highlight of Oliphant’s second race as he battled towards an eleventh place finish and another few points to add to the tally.

Race three was started on the least favoured tyre of the two and despite battling for position in the top ten, Tom was powerless to hold back the soft tyred cars behind him and he sadly dropped to just outside of the points scoring positions in sixteenth.

Whilst the racing brought Tom some more points to add to his running total, the pride of topping practice one was still something he was proud of.

“I’m really pleased with the weekend. While it was only FP1, it was a great feeling to set the pace in a BTCC session for the first time.

“This was another new circuit for me in a front-wheel drive car, but I immediately clicked with it and we showed some promising race pace in FP2 as well.

“I loved the three races. I was in the thick of the action throughout and made sure I raced smart and clean. To fightback from 18th to 9th in race one was particularly pleasing, and I was also happy with race three and how I only lost five places on the slower hard tyres.

“We’re on the cusp of a standout result in this championship and hopefully we can achieve it at Brands. I’ve never been in love with the GP circuit, but I’ve been told the car goes well there and I’m confident that we can excel around the high-speed sections. I’m looking forward to it.”

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