Tom Oliphant showed tremendous fight and overtaking prowess as he stormed to a pair of top five finishes during an action-packed second meeting of the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season at Silverstone this weekend (16/17 April).
The weekend saw Oliphant race in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship around the iconic Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, and he made full use of the platform to once again showcase his pace and potential in the championship.
Oliphant had to use all of his skills and experience across a weekend full of changing weather, the worst of which saw the ‘Home of British Motorsport’ bathed in snow on Saturday morning, leading to the cancellation of qualifying with fears over the levels of standing water on circuit.
With the decision made to set the grid by championship position, the Redline Racing ace lined up fifth on the grid for the opening encounter later that afternoon, buoyed by showing top six pace in both wet and dry conditions in Friday practice.
The snow and rain had ceased by the time the opening race came around, meaning Oliphant was able to race on slick tyres. Starting on the wet side of the track would prove to be his downfall however, as when squeezed to the inside at the first corner he suffered an unfortunate spin.
That fired up the 25 year old though and from seventeenth at the end of lap one, he proceeded to mount a sensational comeback drive and was into the top eight within just four laps, before swiftly closing down an eight second gap to the next group ahead.
With two more positions gained on lap six, Oliphant held the outright fastest lap during the middle portion of the race as he began to pressure Lewis Plato in fifth, getting through with a slick move into Stowe on lap eleven.
After giving the place back soon after, Oliphant would produce an even better move at the same corner four laps later, storming around the outside to take a fifth place that he would comfortably maintain until the finish.
Starting fourth for race two courtesy of an improved championship position, Oliphant would have to mount a fightback once again after slipping to sixth off the line – a position that he would hold for a large portion of the race as he was sat in the middle of a thrilling five way battle over fourth.
Biding his time as the clock ticked down, Oliphant seized an opportunity on the penultimate lap with another tremendous move at Stowe to take fifth from Tom Sharp, before storming past Stephen Jelley coming out of Copse on the final lap to secure fourth position.
Post-race though, Oliphant was demoted to fifth behind Sharp after it was deemed he exceeded track limits when he overtook his adversary. The two fifth place finishes mean Oliphant lies fifth in the standings ahead of a seven week break before the next meeting at Oulton Park on 04/05 June.
Tom Oliphant: “This weekend has been a step forward for us. We were unlucky with the fact that qualifying was cancelled, as I felt really comfortable in the wet conditions and was confident we could have challenged for the front row.
“The first race was a bit of a lottery. I was on the inside for the first corner and had no grip on the water, so span and had to fight back as hard as I possibly could. Fifth was as high as we could have got, so I was pleased with that.
“Race two was the first bit of dry running we had on good tyres, so the pace wasn’t fantastic and I was pushing too hard in the middle of the race. I regained my focus towards the end though, started driving it properly and made two opportunistic moves.
“This break before Oulton Park is going to be a blessing. It’s been a manic few weeks with the two race meetings and all the preparations, so it’s great to get them out of the way with a solid start to the season and I feel we have the potential to be regularly challenging for podium finishes from now on.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. John Patterson