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  • Simon Paice

Tom Oliphant Stars In Tasmania With Special TCR Australia Victory

Tom Oliphant charged through the field to a sensational first race win of the 2024 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series season during a thrilling AWC Race Tasmania event this past weekend (15-17 March).

Returning to Symmons Plains Raceway, the scene of his Australian race debut, Oliphant put in a near-perfect Sunday performance to charge his way to his second career TCR Australia victory and a runners-up finish to impressively end the weekend as the highest points-scoring driver.

While the weekend started with a tougher than expected qualifying session, Oliphant and the HMO Customer Racing team quickly put that behind them and focused on maximising the great race pace in their Hyundai i30 N TCR.

The opening encounter that day proved to be a stop-start outing, with a full red flag stoppage off the original start. Once the racing got going, Oliphant enjoyed a thrilling wheel-to-wheel duel with Aaron Cameron in his Peugeot. Pulling off a couple of impressive moves for seventh place, sadly a tap to the rear sent him off circuit late on and left him eighth at the finish.

Lining up third on the reverse grid for race two on Sunday morning, the two-time BTCC race-winner initially slipped back to sixth off the line. Fighting back a spot by the end of the first lap, he then benefitted from an incident ahead at the hairpin to slot into third place.

Tucking under the rear wing of Jordan Cox’s Peugeot, he pulled off an exquisite dive into the hairpin for second on lap eight. That put him right onto the tail of the race leader and he applied pressure for a number of laps, eventually coming home with a great podium result and the fastest lap of the race.

There was more to come in the final race of the weekend though. Oliphant started from second on the grid courtesy of the race two result and would use all of the skills he learnt over his time in the BTCC to excel in what’s been described as one of the most “ferocious” TCR Australia races ever.

Right in the thick of the action from the off, he was battling over the podium places in the early laps before a small mistake dropped him to fifth. A stunning fightback saw him gain three places in just two corners on lap six to slot into second place and set his sights on the leader Zac Soutar.

As the chaos continued behind him, Oliphant hunted down the Audi ahead and a perfect move into the hairpin netted him the lead. From there, a composed and faultless drive saw the Wollongong-based racer pull clear of the pack and bring it home for a memorable race win.

Tom Oliphant: “We’re absolutely over the moon to come away from the weekend with a win and a second place. After our challenging start at Sandown, we were determined to come back and show everyone the true speed we have in this Hyundai and we did exactly that.

“Saturday wasn’t our strongest day as we tried to nail the best setup for the car, but we unlocked something in it for Sunday and it was a dream to drive. This circuit promotes close, feisty racing and I really enjoyed getting my elbows out and making some moves out there.

“A huge thank you to the team for all their hard work across the event, getting us in the position to go out there and challenge for the wins. Sunday couldn’t have gone any better and we now want to carry this speed and momentum into the next round.”

The 2024 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series season continues next month (12-14 April) with a visit to the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria.

Image from HMO Customer Racing.


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