OLIPHANT FUELLED BY THRUXTON FIGHTBACK
Tom Oliphant kicked off his 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign with an inspiring race day comeback at Thruxton, which saw him narrowly miss out on a podium in a pulsating reverse grid contest.
A top six qualifying performance on Saturday was immediately unravelled when the Team BMW star was tipped into a spin on the opening lap of race one, and was sent tumbling to the rear of the pack.
The 30-year-old underlined his overtaking credentials by scything his way up the order to finish 15th, and he improved again in race two to climb into the top ten.
Drawn onto the front row of the grid for the reverse grid race, Oliphant opted to gamble on slick tyres as the rain began to fall and it almost proved to be a gamble that paid off.
Dropping down the order as he scrambled for grip in the opening stages, track conditions soon improved and the #15 BMW 330i M Sport surged through to second on-the-road.
Challenging for the lead, the rain unfortunately intensified in the latter stages, leaving Oliphant unable to sustain his charge and finish seventh.
Leaving Thruxton, Oliphant sits ninth in the overall BTCC Drivers’ standings as it heads to Snetterton next on June 12/13.
“Ultimately I’m disappointed with the results as we really had the pace to be on the podium in all three races,” said Oliphant. “However, the incident in race one meant that the day quickly became about fighting back and we nearly capped it off in style.
“We had great pace in race one to fight back to 15th and then I managed to pick up another five spots in race two.
“We rolled the dice in race three going for slicks and it so nearly paid off. I managed to bring the tyres in and then as soon as the slicks switched on I was off and picking my way through the field. Were it not for the second rain shower in the closing stages then I’d have been on the podium, no question about it.
“On the whole I’d have liked to come away with a few more points and some silverware, but we will be heading to Snetterton with not too much success ballast and a car we know will be well-suited to the circuit characteristics.”