Tom Oliphant produced a fantastic drive from the back of the grid to 19th position to cap off an encouraging third meeting of his debut Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign at Thruxton.
The trip south to Hampshire would mark Oliphant’s first race meeting at the fastest circuit in the UK since his title-winning Ginetta GT4 Supercup campaign in 2015, though crucially an official test at the track last month gave him the chance to get back up to speed.
In front of a record-breaking trackside crowd, the opening race on Sunday would prove to be a relatively subdued affair, with Oliphant moving his Horizon Specialities and eJIGSAW-backed Mercedes up one place to 15th position before slipping back to 17th at the finish.
Unfortunately, the Leamington driver’s hopes of moving up the order in race two would be ended abruptly only three laps in, when an overly ambitious move from behind led to heavy contact and race-ending suspension damage - an incident the other driver was later penalised for.
That retirement meant Oliphant would start the final encounter in 30th position but that did not faze him as he put on a great display in front of the live ITV4 television cameras to rise 11 places.
He said: “Considering it’s not the easiest track to overtake around, I’m pleased with the positions I gained and it was just a shame the field spread out so I couldn’t make any more ground.
“Next up is my home circuit of Oulton Park, which is a meeting I always look forward to.”