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  • Simon Paice

Tom Oliphant Fights To Top Ten Treble At Phillip Island


Tom Oliphant salvaged a solid haul of points from a challenging visit to Phillip Island for the third round of the 2024 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series this past weekend (12-14 April).


Full of confidence after scoring a brilliant first win of the campaign in the previous round at Symmons Plains Raceway last month, Oliphant was in high spirits for the latest triple-header around the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit with reigning TCR Australia champions HMO Customer Racing.


It became clear for the British racer across the free practice sessions on Friday that he would face an uphill battle to challenge for top results over the weekend though, with the addition of 40kg of success ballast after his double podium last time out hampering the competitiveness of his Hyundai i30 N TCR.


Posting the eighth fastest time in qualifying, the two-time BTCC race-winner emerged from a close-fought first lap of race one in the same position. Establishing himself there for the first portion of the race, he then went on the offensive and passed the Peugeot of Ryan Casha.


Closing on the next two cars as they battled ahead of him, Oliphant found himself in the tricky position of trying to attack and defend at the same time in a close four-car train. Pushing hard to try and make progress, he unfortunately ended up slipping back behind Casha late on to finish up in eighth.


The 33-year-old lined up fourth on the reverse grid for race two and was right in the thick of the action through a chaotic first lap. Settling in fifth position, he was looking at making a move on the car ahead when a questionable move from Ben Bargwanna led to contact between the two.


Forced off circuit across the grass, Oliphant dropped to the back of the field and was eventually classified in ninth. The final race started strongly as he rose two places to sixth on lap one, with some more close wheel-to-wheel racing throughout culminating in a seventh-place result.


Tom Oliphant: “It’s been a real challenge this weekend, with the addition of the success ballast being a big hinderance around a circuit like Phillip Island. We knew we therefore weren’t going to be up there battling for more trophies, but had hoped for some better results from the races.


“The incident in race two was particularly frustrating as the car was feeling strong in that one, but ultimately we have to take away the positives from this weekend and know that with the ballast removed, we have a very competitive package to take into the next round.”


The 2024 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series season continues in seven weeks’ time (31 May – 02 June) with a visit to The Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend, South Australia.


Image from HMO Customer Racing.

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