- Chris Ashby
Tom Oliphant Ends BTCC Season With Double Points At Brands Hatch
Tom Oliphant brought the curtain down on his Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season with a valiant double-points performance at Brands Hatch this past weekend (October 23/24).
On what was a rollercoaster race day, the 30-year-old also helped Team BMW clinch a record sixth consecutive BTCC Manufacturers/Constructors Championship title.
Having taken a deep dive into understanding the issues that had hampered him at Donington Park between events, the West Surrey Racing driver enjoyed a competitive showing in both practice sessions ahead of qualifying.
In what proved to be another record-breaking battle for pole position, Oliphant wound up just three tenths away from top spot and started the opening race of the finale in 14th.
The opening encounter around the Kent venue saw the rear-wheel-drive ace begin his race day fightback with a charging drive to 11th, after making a number of moves as he hounded the back of Ollie Jackson’s Ford Focus.
Unfortunately, race two was over before it really began as he found himself the innocent victim of a multi-car accident on the opening lap which forced him to retire.
Following a sensational repair job by his team, Oliphant made the start of the final race of the season with moments to spare and he duly rewarded them with a charging 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.
Tom Oliphant: “It wasn’t the way I would have liked to have ended the season but I had fun and the car was mega. 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 points.
“I’m really pleased that BMW won the Manufacturers’ Championship for the sixth year in a row and 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.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.