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  • Simon Paice

Tom Oliphant Scores Fantastic First TCR Australia Victory


Tom Oliphant rose to the challenge of a late change of car to secure a sensational maiden Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series race win in the third round of his debut campaign at Winton Motor Raceway (10/11 June).


Oliphant and the Autoglym Ashley Seward Motorsport team were hopeful of a strong showing in Winton, having built upon a hugely encouraging first race outing with their new Lynk & Co 03 TCR at Phillip Island last month with a positive recent test day at the Victoria circuit.


There would be an unfortunate late change to their plans however, as delays in overseas part deliveries for the Lynk & Co left the team with no option but to change plans and revert back to their Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR for the weekend – the car Oliphant raced on his TCR Australia debut in February.


While his previous experience with the car meant he was able to quickly readjust to it during free practice on Friday, they still anticipated a tricky weekend ahead having focused their development work on the other car. This showed in qualifying, with Oliphant hustling the Alfa to tenth on the timesheets.


The two-time BTCC race-winner enjoyed a fantastic start to the opening race, storming forward five places within the opening three corners. Sadly issues with a lack of rear grip on the Giulietta meant he ultimately slipped back to tenth as the race progressed.


There was a silver lining to come out of that result though, as he secured pole position on the reverse grid for race two the following morning. Some great work by the team gave him a car capable of fighting at the front, and Oliphant duly delivered a standout performance.


He produced a perfect launch off the line to seize the advantage and immediately pull a gap to the chasing pack. From there, he controlled the race with a masterful, flawless drive to complete a lights-to-flag success and become the first international driver to win in the series since 2019.


The Wollongong resident lined up fifth for the final race of the weekend and another great start moved him up to fourth. Putting in a spirited drive in the fierce battles, he would unfortunately lose out to drivers with newer tyres and end up eighth at the chequered flag.


Tom Oliphant: “When it was confirmed we couldn’t race the Lynk & Co this weekend, I don’t any of us could have imagined we’d come away as race-winners. The Autoglym Ashley Seward Motorsport team did a simply phenomenal job with the Alfa though.


“We kept making progress every session with the car and after struggling with grip in race one, they made some spot on changes for race two. Once I’d got the early gap, I was able to warm up the tyres, settle into a rhythm and felt comfortable managing the lead.


“I’m delighted to get my first win in the championship, and considering everything we’ve had to go through to get here, it feels even sweeter. This win is a testament to everyone in the team, they have a great attitude and they never gave up. Now we’re ready to build on this and enjoy more success with the Lynk & Co going forward.”


Oliphant, who races with the support of Win Network and i98FM, will be back behind the wheel of the Lynk & Co 03 TCR for the fourth round of the 2023 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series season at Queensland Raceway in two months’ time (11-13 August).


Image from TCR Australia.

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