Oliphant fights his way to Rockingham points finish

Tom Oliphant in action at Rockingham. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography
Tom Oliphant in action at Rockingham. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Tom Oliphant showed tremendous speed, racecraft and determination to overcame a number of obstacles on his way to a richly-deserved points finish in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham Motor Speedway.

Oliphant headed into the meeting anticipating a tricky weekend as he raced at the unique Rockingham circuit for the first time since 2015 and for the first time ever in front-wheel drive machinery, and it was made even harder by limited running on Saturday.

Starting Sunday’s opening race in 22nd, he picked his way through the order to 17th before a massive contact from another driver led to a trip to the pitlane and an eventual 25th-place finish.

The Leamington-based driver nursed a delaminated tyre for three laps to secure 17th in race two, putting him in contention for a points finish in the last of the three encounters.

His chances were boosted by a fantastic opening lap as he stormed around a number of drivers at the Brook chicane to grab tenth place.

After a short safety car interlude, Oliphant quickly moved his way into ninth position, only for a lack of grip and traction on the option hard Dunlop tyres seeing him slip back to 13th.

That was still enough to secure Oliphant an eighth points finish of his maiden BTCC season

“I’ll take a points finish after what was a very difficult weekend,” the 27-year-old admitted.

“The time we lost in free practice really hampered us and then to be taken out in the first race robbed us of any chance to come away with some serious results on race day.

“We started in contention for the points in the final race and I had some great speed in the early stages, so I could make loads of overtakes and get up to ninth.

“Unfortunately we struggled on the hard tyre from there and it was frustrating to slip back to 13th.”