Oliphant Makes Welcome Return To BTCC Podium At Thruxton
Tom Oliphant made a brilliant return to the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship podium at Thruxton this past weekend (August 28/29) as he claimed a pair of third place finishes.
Arriving at the high-speed Hampshire venue keen to turn his fortunes around after being out of luck during the previous two events, the Team BMW driver kicked off the second half of his season in style with a silverware-filled Sunday.
Entering the weekend free of success ballast, the BMW 330i M Sport racer led the line for West Surrey Racing in qualifying as he set a best time of 1:15.838 around the 2.36-mile circuit to secure fifth on the grid for race one.
Making one of his customary fast starts as the lights went out, Oliphant enjoyed a superlative opening lap to charge into second place before he was shuffled back a spot on the following tour.
Pushing an aggressive pace early on, the two-time race winner established a comfortable gap to those behind him and ultimately cruised to the chequered flag to finish third.
Ladened with 57kgs of success ballast, Oliphant produced a carbon copy performance in race two as he claimed a second successive podium finish.
Charging into second place off the line, the rear-wheel-drive maestro held station for a number of laps before being demoted to third by Ashley Sutton as the race ticked onto lap four.
From there, the 31-year-old maintained his position for the remainder of the 16-lap contest, holding off the advances of Jake Hill in the closing laps.
Starting race three in sixth place virtue of the reverse grid draw, the BRDC Member brought the curtain down on his weekend with a solid points finish of 12th.
Oliphant’s double-podium performance at Thruxton means he has now equalled his career-best haul of four rostrums finishes in a single season.
Tom Oliphant: “I’m really happy to have come away with two podiums this weekend, I couldn’t have asked for more. It was important to get things back on track after a tough couple of meetings and we’ve done just that.
“Thruxton isn’t our strongest circuit but we found a great balance with the car in qualifying and then carried that across into races one and two. It was pretty comfortable in third, much of the work was done on the first lap and then it was just about managing the gaps and the tyres.
“Race three was very stop-start due to the safety cars and despite making a good start I got sandwiched and then got shuffled down the order after the first restart. We picked up a few more points and to come away with 34 points in total, as well as two trophies, is mega.
“We go to Croft next month with no ballast and the aim will be to repeat what we’ve done here and grab a couple of podiums. The car should go well there so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.”
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship continues on September 18/19 with Rounds 19, 20 & 21 taking place at Croft Circuit.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.