Tom Oliphant praised the ‘extraordinary job’ his team did in preparing his new BMW 330i M Sport for the first weekend of the British Touring Car Championship, where the WSR newcomer secured his best-ever BTCC result.
Oliphant did all the right things on Saturday when he qualified the new car in fifth for the first race, just behind his two team-mates and proving he had the pace in his switch to BMW machinery.
But the 28-year-old’s work was undone in the first race on Sunday, when he started the race, in inclement weather, on wet tyres
As the race went on, those drivers behind who took a gamble on slick tyres found themselves gaining pace and Oliphant could only finish down in 22nd position.
Races two and three saw steady improvement, however, and Oliphant ended the weekend in the points, with 15th in race two, on the less favourable Dunlop option tyre, and sixth in race three.
“We knew we had a quick car, and when we finally got to race in one constant track condition in race three, we were able to show that,” said Oliphant.
“I got a good start, went around a few cars and I was right behind Colin and I just said to myself ‘I am just going to follow him’. I knew he would make the moves. We had the same car, same tyres and same set-up so every move he went for, I just pushed through.
“I’m really, really pleased. The car felt great, exactly the way it had in testing and it’s brilliant that we managed to end the day on a high and score some big points for Team BMW.
“Between us and AJ we showed what the car can do. The guys have done an extraordinary job with this car and I can’t wait to race it again.”
WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts praised Oliphant for his efforts on his first weekend with the team, and only the start of his second year in the BTCC.
“I’m very impressed with Tom, who recorded his best result in the BTCC this weekend,” said Bennetts. “At no point did he look any different to the other two, who are both champions, and was right on Colin’s tail in race three.
“Overall this has been a very good weekend and considering how many hours everyone has put in to get these three BMW 330i M Sports ready for this weekend, the results are a tremendous testament to the team’s hard work.”