Tom Oliphant launched the second half of his 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season with a pair of top six finishes at Snetterton this past weekend (29/30 July), having battled for the podium positions in front of the live ITV4 television cameras in race two.
Fresh from a first top three finish of the season during the last outing at the iconic Le Mans, Oliphant headed to a circuit he’s won at three times before in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup with his focus solely on once again getting onto the Carrera Cup GB podium.
Oliphant produced top six pace throughout testing in the run up to the race weekend, and the 26 year old would go on to convert that pace into a pair of fifth place grid starts in qualifying on Saturday, finishing less than three hundredths of a second shy of a second row berth.
Both races would follow on Sunday, with the opener kicking off with a rolling start. Unfortunately for Oliphant, he and a number of rivals heard some confusing radio calls from the race directors at the start, causing them to hesitate just as the lights went out.
Initially dropping a number of positions, the Philips automotive lighting driver was able to immediately fight-back well and end the opening lap in sixth position, with the field then lining up behind the safety car following an early incident behind.
Following the restart, Oliphant would go on to put his Redline Racing team-mate Euan McKay under immense pressure as the race wore on, but with a suitable overtaking move not presenting itself, he would settle for sixth at the finish and a solid haul of points with it.
The Leamington Spa racer would enjoy a stronger start to race two however, with a great launch off the line allowing him to dive down the inside of Lewis Plato and grab fourth position as the field headed through Riches and the Wilson hairpin for the first time.
Oliphant would lap as the fastest car on circuit in the early stages as he began to pile the pressure on Tio Ellinas ahead for third, however his efforts to unsettle his rival would unfortunately hamper his tyre life, allowing the top three to slowly edge away as the race progressed.
From there, a composed drive saw Oliphant bring his Horizon Specialities backed Porsche home in fourth position, with another strong points tally ensuring he has further consolidated his fourth place in the championship standings.
Oliphant now holds an increased sixteen point advantage over his closest challenger as he prepares for the annual trip north of the border to Knockhill next weekend (12/13 August) for Rounds Ten and Eleven of the 2017 season.
Tom Oliphant: “It’s been an interesting weekend. It was difficult across testing and practice with the changing weather and track conditions, but we certainly had a quick race car come the weekend and I felt I was good enough for third in qualifying, though I made a small mistake.
“I was punished for something completely out of my control at the start of the first race and that should have never happened, which left me finishing sixth when I should have been higher, and then race two we had good pace at the start, but it’s so hard to follow cars when you lose the aero.
“That meant I had to push the tyres harder so they fell off and allowed the top three to pull away, but it’s still another solid result to add to the sixth in race one and more points for the championship. Now we’re looking to push on at Knockhill and take the speed I know we have into podium finishes.”
Image from Dan Bathie/Porsche.