OLIPHANT HOLDING HEAD HIGH AFTER TOUGH SEASON
Tom Oliphant drew his 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship challenge to a close with a valiant double-points performance at Brands Hatch last month (23/24 October) after a mixed campaign in which highlights included a second career victory amongst three other rostrum finishes for the 31-year-old.
On what proved to be a rollercoaster race day, Oliphant also helped Team BMW clinch a record sixth consecutive Manufacturers’/Constructors’ Championship title.
Having worked tirelessly to understand the cause of his hampered results at Donington Park between events, the WSR driver enjoyed a competitive showing in both free practice sessions on Saturday at the Kent circuit, but in what proved to be another record-breaking battle for pole position, Oliphant wound up just three-tenths of a second away from the top spot and would start the opening race of finals day from 14th on the grid.
The initial encounter around the 2.43-mile venue saw the rear-wheel drive ace begin his race day fightback with a charging drive to 11th, making a number of moves as he hounded the back of Ollie Jackson’s Ford Focus.
Unfortunately, race two was over before it had really begun as he found himself entangled in a multi-car incident on the opening lap which caused race-ending damage to his BMW 330i M Sport.
Following a sensational repair job by the team, Oliphant made the start of the final race of the season with moments to spare and duly rewarded them with an impressive drive.
Starting from the back of the grid, the two-time race winner carved his way up the order in what was a fraught reverse grid encounter to finish 15th.
“It wasn’t the way I would have liked to have ended the season, but I had fun and the car was mega,” reflected Oliphant. “We were unlucky, but that has been the story of our year.
“Race one went to plan in terms of making progress, but we sadly were in the wrong place at the wrong time in the second race. Given the amount of damage we suffered, the team did a mega job to turn the car around, so it was nice to reward them with some more points.
“I’m really pleased that BMW won the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ Championship for the sixth year in a row. It was fantastic to have played a part in that with some big points scores.
“Overall, it has been somewhat of a frustrating season. We’ve had a couple of great weekends but the rest of them have been tough. I’ve picked up four trophies though and held my head high throughout.”