Tom Oliphant kicked off the second half of his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup GB campaign with a hugely promising weekend at Snetterton, with a pair of hard-fought top five finishes moving him up to fourth in the championship standings.
Oliphant headed into the weekend with an exciting new addition to his team of sponsors in the form of the UK arm of Philips Automotive, with his Redline Racing Porsche sporting a striking blue, black and green livery for the first time in Norfolk.
Returning to the scene of a superb double victory last season on his way to the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup title, Oliphant kicked off the weekend with a pair of productive practice sessions on Friday.
The Mulgari Automotive and Bandera-backed racer placed himself in the top five on the timesheets in both outings, a performance that he was unlucky not to replicate during Saturday’s qualifying.
Oliphant sat fifth on the timesheets after his first run of the session, however a slight mistake at the first corner on his new set of rubber led to a broken splitter, depriving him of the opportunity to improve his time and leaving him sixth on the grid for the two races.
With pace in the bag for the races, Oliphant was confident of gaining ground in the opening race on Sunday morning and after some close wheel-to-wheel racing with Dino Zamparelli around the first few corners, Oliphant slotted into fifth position behind Lewis Plato.
Those three would go on to run nose-to-tail throughout the fourteen lap encounter, with Oliphant trading places with Zamparelli a couple of times before focusing his attention on depriving Plato of fourth in the closing stages – though some robust defending ensured it was fifth place at the finish.
Race two in the Snetterton sunshine would prove to be another promising encounter for Oliphant, who produced a lightning getaway off the line to storm straight past the two drivers in front and settle into fourth position.
From there, Oliphant would begin to place championship contender Dino Zamparelli under a sustained spell of pressure as he chased a maiden podium finish in the series, with no more than a second separating them throughout.
Unable to produce a clear overtaking opportunity on his adversary, Oliphant brought the car home in fourth place to match his best result in the championship so far, and continue his record of being the only driver in the field to finish every race this season inside the top six.
The weekend’s results have moved Oliphant above Stephen Jelley into fourth in the championship standings ahead of the trip north of the border to Knockhill in Scotland in a fortnights time (13/14 August) for Rounds Eleven and Twelve of the season.
Tom Oliphant: “I’m really pleased with the massive strides forwards we have made with our pace this weekend. We’re really up there matching the front-runners for pace now and in that second race we were able to properly push for the podium positions.
“It was fantastic to welcome Philips Automotive on-board this weekend to join Mulgari Automotive, Bandera, Clearview Coaching and Horizon, and I’m delighted to be able to reward their support with two more strong points finishes.
“I’m delighted to have gained a position in the championship standings and we now head to Knockhill confident that if we can put everything together in qualifying, we can be right in contention for podium finishes across the weekend.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. James Lipman/Porsche