Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant is feeling confident ahead of today’s trio of British Touring Car Championship races at Thruxton after he qualified as the highest rear-wheel drive runner for the opening contest.
Oliphant displayed strong practice pace before qualifying seventh for race one, and was happy to be able to fine-tune his BMW 330i M Sport to be exactly where he wanted it.
He told TouringCars.Net that a mistake on his fastest lap cost him, but was encouraged by his pace and felt he extracted the maximum at what is usually a circuit which favours front-wheel drive.
“I was very pleased with how qualifying went yesterday. The whole day the car was exactly where I wanted it to be, we only fine tuned it which was really nice,” said Oliphant.
“Going into qualifying after P2 in FP2, I was confident I could challenge for the top five. I knew certain cars – especially the Hondas – would come good in qualifying, they’ve just got really good pace.
“I gave it everything. I made a tenth-and-a-half mistake on my best lap, which would have put me into the top five quite comfortably.
“Maybe I could challenge for the front row, but I think realistically that’s the most a rear-wheel drive could have done yesterday. Now I’m looking forward to this race from P7.”
After a difficult weekend last time out at Snetterton, Oliphant is eager to play the “long game” and secure consistent points throughout today’s races.
“I’m just going to play it easy, it’s all about the long game today. Hopefully I get a good start, I should be able to challenge for fifth” he said.
“We’ll see what happens in front of me, if I can’t take fifth in race one then we’ll go again in race two.
“The two cars ahead of my directly are carrying quite a lot of weight. [Dan] Cammish is as well, Adam Morgan is up there, [Jason] Plato is up there and [Sam] Tordoff with no or little weight.
“I think it’s going to be a relatively quick race at the front, hopefully I can just tag along to the back and move along for the rest of the day from there.”
The opening race of the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton is scheduled to get underway at 12:15 BST.