Tom Oliphant has claimed Round 7 of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Brands Hatch Indy with a superb battle ensuing with Gordon Shedden who took second in the end.
Oliphant led to begin the race and opened up the gap towards four seconds before Shedden chipped away lap after lap, but he ran out of time in the end to pass the Team BMW driver.
It is a second race win for Oliphant with Dan Rowbottom finalising the podium ahead of Jake Hill, championship leader Ash Sutton, Tom Ingram, Chris Smiley, Aiden Moffat, Josh Cook and Jack Goff who finalised the top ten.
Off the line, Rowbottom got a poor start and Oliphant swamped him and led Moffat and Shedden ahead of Sutton, Hill and Ingram with the latter pulling past Shedden on the opening lap but fell down the order to sixth place.
Oliphant’s gap went over two seconds with Moffat holding off Shedden. Sutton surged on the outside, but Shedden took advantage on Lap Five to pull past his fellow Scot and hold off Sutton who has 75kg on board.
Sutton’s attempted surge was in vain as Hill and Rowbottom sent the leader down to sixth place with Ingram the next to attempt to have a go.
Rowbottom made the move stick on Hill to go into fourth place as he attempted to make amends for his poor start. Moffat was next up for the Halfords Racing with Cataclean driver as he produced the same move as on Hill to cleanly out break him and move onto the podium and behind his teammate.
The lead gap was still 3.4secs between Oliphant and Shedden with the latter not able to find any time on the Team BMW driver.
Moffat’s good qualifying was undone as Hill, Sutton, Ingram and Smiley picked him off to send him down to 8th. Turkington’s strife continued as he had a drama spinning just into the gravel and he fell down the order.
Shedden suddenly came alive and brought the gap down to 2.6secs as he aimed to surge onto Oliphant on Lap 16/24. This went down to 1.8secs as another lap went and the gap went down again.
The gap went to just over a second as Shedden had three laps to catch Oliphant and set up a brilliant conclusion to Race One.
Onto the final lap and Oliphant had to encounter traffic with Parfitt not moving out of the way initially but this didn’t derail him as Shedden ran out of time finishing +0.188 secs 9behind in the end.