Tom Oliphant produced a gritty performance in the latest three rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill this past weekend (August 29/30), scoring an impressive trio of points finishes.
On the heels of scoring his third podium of the season at his home circuit of Oulton Park, the Team BMW driver headed north of the border to cap off what has been a busy start to the season - with four events taking place in just five weeks.
The 30--year-old was keen to continue his impressive front-running form of late in Scotland, however it was a difficult start in an ultra-competitive qualifying session. With the balance of the car not quite there, he was only able to set the tenth fastest time.
Launching his BMW 330i M Sport off the fifth row of the grid, the British Racing Drivers Club member battled hard in the opening encounter around the undulating 1.27-mile circuit to make progress and take the chequered flag in eighth.
Shedding a substantial amount of success ballast, Oliphant continued marching forwards in race two as he once again clinched another hard-fought points finish. Progressing in the early stages, the former Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion went on to run inside the top six throughout the remainder of the race and again bank pivotal points.
Starting sixth virtue of the reverse grid draw for race three, the Sports Alive-backed race-winner capped off his weekend with another masterful drive which was headlined by a string of notable overtaking manoeuvres.
The original race was red flagged early on due to a sizeable accident but once restarted, Oliphant was a man on a mission as he leapt over the kerbs and up the order. Producing a stunning move on Chris Smiley on two wheels through Duffus Dip, Oliphant set off after third placed man Tom Chilton but was ultimately unable to find a way past - settling for fourth in the end.
Following the BTCC’s annual highland fling, Oliphant sits fourth in the overall Drivers’ Championship as the halfway marker approaches.
Tom Oliphant: “It’s been a solid weekend; I wouldn’t say it has been the most spectacular but we grounded out the results and fought hard so to come away with a score of 31 points as well as maintain fourth in the standings is a job well done.
“I’d hoped for a bit more in qualifying but the weight we were carrying played its part so it was all about taking it one race at a time. I struggled to see the lights in race one so didn’t get the best of starts but once we were underway the pace in the car was good and we moved forward to eighth.
“Getting ballast out of the car helped us in race two and I was happy to come away with sixth. Fourth in race three was a solid end to the day and I was able to make a few big moves, including one I’m rather proud of on two wheels through Duffus Dip.
“On the whole it has been a successful month. I’ve scored my first BTCC race win and we’re fourth in the points. There is a plenty of racing still to come so I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel at Thruxton in a few weeks’ time.”
Rounds 13, 14 & 15 of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place around the fastest circuit on the calendar, Thruxton, on September 19/20.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.