Oliphant Ends Season On A High With Fantastic Finale Podium
Tom Oliphant ended his 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB campaign in style this past weekend as he confirmed his fourth position in the final championship standings with a sensational drive from eighth on the grid through to a podium finish at Brands Hatch. In the opening race of the weekend, Oliphant bounced back from a frustrating qualifying session to produce a remarkable drive through the field in treacherous conditions in his Redline Racing Porsche and secure a third podium finish of the season. The season finale had started in positive fashion for the 27 year old as he produced top four pace in Friday practice, however qualifying unfortunately wouldn’t go his way on Saturday as a combination of traffic, yellow flags and driver errors left him eighth and sixth on the grid for Sunday’s two races. Oliphant was determined to make amends in the races though and he made an immediate impact in the opening encounter, gaining no less than four places on the first lap alone as he excelled in tricky wet conditions following morning rainfall. The Leamington Spa based racer briefly slipped back to fifth position, but following a short safety car period his charge would continue as he regained the place with a fantastic dive down the inside into Stirlings, before immediately setting his sights on the podium contenders ahead. Lapping as one of the fastest cars on circuit, Oliphant would close down a gap of over two seconds to the driver ahead before grabbing third place with a slick move into Druids three laps from the end to complete his remarkable drive through the field. Oliphant would go on to enjoy a starring role on ITV4 later that afternoon in his Philips automotive lighting and Horizon Specialities machine as he played his part in a dramatic championship finale, battling wheel-to-wheel with eventual champion Charlie Eastwood throughout the race. After moving up to fifth on the opening lap, Oliphant would once again showcase his impressive racecraft as he found himself in the middle of a three-way battle over fourth, adding a stunning overtaking move around the outside at Sheene corner to his burgeoning showreel. Oliphant would eventually have to settle for sixth position at the chequered flag, a result that completed a remarkably consistent run of fourteen top six results in fifteen races this year, which incredibly means he has finished outside the top six just twice in 31 Carrera Cup GB starts. Tom Oliphant: “The weekend has been really good overall. Qualifying wasn’t great, but practice went well and I’m pleased with my performance across the two races, especially getting the podium from eighth on the grid in the opener. “It really came together in the first race. The opening lap was fantastic, and then I didn’t push too hard on the tyres in the early stages which meant they came to me at the end, I could catch Charlie [Eastwood] ahead and grab a podium finish. “The final race was tense for everybody involved and there was so many options for those involved in the championship, but I raced hard, clean and fair, and walk away with my head held high knowing I raced the final one just as I raced every other one. “It’s been a good, consistent season of racing. The championship is the most competitive it has ever been, so I’m really pleased to come away fourth in the standings again considering the quality of the competition, and that’s a positive to take into the winter and 2018. "I would like to thank Philips automotive and Horizon Specialities for their huge support this year, it's been a pleasure working with them throughout. I would also like to thank everyone who has followed me this year and supported me, and finally a massive thank you to my family, who never miss a meeting and without them none of this would be possible."
Image from Dan Bathie/Porsche.