Oliphant wins Jack Sears Trophy on the back of best-ever finish

Tom Oliphant savours the moment. Pictures: Jakob Ebrey Photography
Tom Oliphant savours the moment. Pictures: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Tom Oliphant served up a dream performance in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park, scoring a career-best second place in the reverse grid encounter, as well as a further two top-six finishes.

Oliphant also claimed outright honours in the Jack Sears Trophy for the first time in his career to add another piece of silverware to his 2019 tally.

Oliphant in race action.

Oliphant in race action.

The annual visit to Oulton Park had added significance for the Team BMW racer with it being his local event - having been born and raised only five minutes down the road in Tarporley.

After having qualified in seventh for race one, the Leamington-based driver soon gained a spot as Matt Neal retired on lap five - bringing out the safety car.

Following several neutralised laps, the action resumed with Oliphant hounding the back of Sam Tordoff who produced a resolute defence to force Oliphant to settle for sixth place.

One of only a handful of drivers to not run the option soft tyre in race two, the 28-year-old made a blistering start and had soon rocketed into fourth. He was unable to force his way on to the podium, however, as a second safety car in the latter stages of the 18-lap encounter stalled his momentum.

Virtue of the reverse grid draw, Oliphant lined up in ninth for the final race of the day with the soft tyre bolted onto his rear-wheel-drive machine. It proved to be a frenetic affair, with Oliphant picking his way through the early chaos to rise to fifth place.

Latching on to the back of Tordoff for the second time in the day, Oliphant kept the pressure on before scything his way past the Honda driver in the closing stages. The Cheshire racer then capitalised on a mistake from a driver ahead to grab another spot.

Crossing the line in third, Oliphant was later promoted to second position following a post-race time penalty to on-the-road winner Jake Hill.

“What a way to go into the summer break,” said a delighted Oliphant. “To have my best ever weekend in the BTCC at my home circuit is just amazing, and to top it off with a second place finish is phenomenal.

“Qualifying didn’t go our way but we played it smart throughout race day and knew we had the pace to run at the front. Making progress in every race set us up for that race three result; we had a bit of luck with incidents that happened elsewhere but we were in the mix throughout.

“To win the Jack Sears Trophy for this weekend is just the cherry on top too. Overall it has been a fantastic weekend for the team and we can go into the summer break in high spirits and with our tails firmly in the air.”