Tom Oliphant ‘disappointed’ with season opener at Thruxton

Tom Oliphant was disappointed to miss out on the podium during the opening British Touring Car Championship race weekend at Thruxton, with the Team BMW driver rueing being tapped into a spin in race one.

Oliphant had qualified his BMW 330i M Sport in sixth on the grid for race one in the only ballast-free qualifying session of the season, having at one stage been on top of the times near the end, demonstrating promising pace in what was a wet-to-dry session.

In the first race, however, Oliphant was tapped into a spin through no fault of his own at the exit of Church corner on the first lap, dropping the WSR driver to the back of the pack.

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The 30-year-old fought his way back through the field and recovered to a creditable 15th come the chequered flag.

Oliphant made further gains in race two to finish tenth, having had to start where he finished race one, even though the race was truncated by both red flags and a safety car period.

The reverse-grid draw for race three worked in Oliphant’s favour as he gained a front-row grid position.

With rain falling at the start of the race, Oliphant gambled on slick tyres, which almost paid off in an eventful weather-affected race.

At the start the BMW driver struggled for grip and dropped down to 19th, before coming back in the mid-part of the race as conditions improved and his tyres came up to temperature.

Making his way up to second, Oliphant looked in a good position late in the race until the rain intensified again and he dropped to seventh as wet-shod drivers ended the race with the upper hand.

Having shown the pace to achieve more at Thruxton, Oliphant admitted to being somewhat disappointed with his weekend results, even though several factors were outside his control.

“Ultimately I’m disappointed with the results as we really had the pace to be on the podium in all three races,” said Oliphant. “However, the incident in race one meant that the day quickly became about fighting back and we nearly capped it off in style.

“From the minute we rolled out in practice the car has had good speed and we’ve tweaked it over the course of the weekend.

“We had great pace in race one to fight back to 15th and then I managed to pick up another five spots in race two.

“We rolled the dice in race three going for slicks and it so nearly paid off. I managed to bring the tyres in and then as soon as the slicks switched on, I was off and picking my way through the field.

“Were it not for the second rain shower in the closing stages then I’d have been on the podium, no question about it.

“On the whole I’d have liked to come away with a few more points and some silverware but we will be heading to Snetterton with not too much success ballast and a car we know will be well-suited to the circuits characteristics.”

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