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Tom Oliphant ‘really pleased’ with Mercedes setup after topping Silverstone FP1

Ciceley Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant says he is “really pleased” with the base setup of his Mercedes-Benz A-Class after he finished fastest in opening practice at Silverstone.

Oliphant, who enjoyed his best ever result of sixth in race one at Knockhill last time out, admits he expected to be beaten towards the end of the 40-minute free practice session.

He told TouringCars.Net that his Mercedes felt very strong, especially when it was assisted by a tow on his fastest lap.

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“Really pleased – the aim was just to go out there and get into the swing of it really and make the most of it,” said Oliphant. “The car felt really really good, and I got a bit of a tow on the best lap and that made a bit of a difference.

“I was over the moon to come in P1, it felt very strong. I think at the time I set it I was a couple of tenths down the road and I was expecting when people put their tyres on to come a little bit back at me.

“But nobody seemed to be able to beat me so I’m really pleased.”

Oliphant says he feels positive about this weekend after the strong showing, and feels that he has more time to gain at the 1.639-mile national layout.

“The start of a session is always about getting used to the track and the setup, so we were just on the worst set of tyres we’ve got,” he said.

“We go out straight away and get used to it, then try to do some development work at the end of the session. That’s why I never beat my time. I was expecting other people to come back at me, but obviously the time was good enough, and the car was good enough to stay up there so I’m feeling positive for this afternoon.”

Ahead of the second free practice session, which gets underway at 12:05, Oliphant says he will change very little on the Mercedes as he is content with the base setup.

“I think the car will stay as it is. We’ll run through our plan for FP2 and try some things halfway through, but I think the base setup on the car seems very strong for the medium tyre.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we’re covering all our bases for the race. So hopefully we’ll have a good qualifying this afternoon.”

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