Oliphant Ends Tough Croft Weekend With Points
Tom Oliphant ended a frustrating Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race day at Croft this past weekend (September 18/19) with only a handful of points after finding himself on the receiving end of contact.
On what proved to be a bruising three races in front of a packed crowd, the Team BMW driver showed his fighting spirit in race three as he bounced back from two non-scores to charge up the order.
Heading to the North Yorkshire venue buoyed by his double-podium performance at Thruxton last month, the BMW 330i M Sport driver had set his sights on adding to his silverware collection.
Qualifying around the challenging 2.1-mile circuit proved to be as competitive as ever, with two red flag stoppages truncating proceedings along the way. Leaving it late in the session, the West Surrey Racing ace punched in a best time of 1:22.190 to secure sixth on the grid.
Lining up on the third row of the grid for the first of Sunday’s three races, contact on the opening lap left the 30-year-old fighting his way back up the order.
Squeezed off-line as the field streamed through the Jim Clark Esses, the BRDC Member received a hit at the rear on entry to Sunny In which sent him spinning to the back of the pack, although he was able to recover to 20th come the chequered flag.
Unfortunately, Oliphant’s race day didn’t improve in the second contest as he was forced to retire after suffering a broken right rear suspension.
Bringing the curtain down on his weekend from the back of the grid in race three, the rear-wheel-drive ace kept out of the chaos that ensued around him to superbly charge up the order from 28th to finish 13th - netting him a few points too.
Tom Oliphant: “It’s been a weekend of missed opportunities and one to ultimately forget. Had I qualified three hundredths of a second faster in qualifying then I’d have been on the second row and things may have been very different - that’s how racing goes though.
“In race one I was just taken out - which seems to be my calling card this year - however I was able to fight back a bit. Then in race two I dropped a wheel off the track ever so slightly and it ripped the rear suspension off the car.
“Race three was a pretty bruising contest but I was able to stay out of trouble and score a few points. The car was mega in clean air.
“Thankfully we go straight to Silverstone next weekend so I’m optimistic of better fortunes. It’s a circuit I’ve always enjoyed competing at and I’ve had plenty of success there down the years. My aim is to enjoy the weekend and see if we can pick up a few more trophies.”
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship is back in action this coming weekend (September 25/26) as the series heads to the Home of British Motor Racing, Silverstone, for the eighth event of the year.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.