Tom Oliphant was part of one of the most thrilling battles in the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season so far as he fought for a podium finish in the second race of another hugely promising weekend at Knockhill.
Oliphant was embroiled in a fierce duel with Tom Sharp throughout the race, with the duo wowing the trackside crowd.
That encounter capped off a race week that had started off in hugely positive fashion for Oliphant in Tuesday testing, with the Redline Racing ace posting impressive lap times as he tackled the track for the first time in his Mulgari Automotive and Philips-backed Porsche 911.
Oliphant would continue to show promising pace across Friday practice, but was to be left frustrated in qualifying as a combination of traffic and yellow flags on his second tyre run would leave him sixth and fifth on the grid for Sunday’s two races.
The opening encounter would start in frustrating fashion for Oliphant as well, as on the opening lap he was forced wide across the gravel at Clark’s by a slower car in front, with some impressive car control ensuring he got back on the tarmac in eleventh place.
Fired up to climb back through the order, Oliphant produced some brilliant overtaking moves as he worked his way up to seventh position, before narrowly missing out on gaining another spot after putting the sixth place driver under some immense pressure in the closing stages.
After producing similar lap times to the podium contenders during his charge to seventh, Oliphant headed into race two hoping to challenge for his maiden top three and his chances were increased as he dived into fourth position through the opening corner.
A textbook switchback move at the final hairpin on lap three saw Oliphant move into third, a position he would impressively hold for the next eighteen laps before a slight mistake into Scotsman allowed his adversary back in front.
As the race headed towards its conclusion the battling on track intensified, with Oliphant going on to produce a fearless overtaking move on the penultimate lap as he stormed around the outside of Sharp through the first corner and down the infamous Duffus Dip.
Oliphant briefly got the position, but unfortunately some dirt collected on the tyres whilst running off-line during the move meant he couldn’t get the car stopped in time for the next corner, opening the door for third position to be cruelly snatched back from him.
Despite missing out on a podium finish, Oliphant’s performance earnt him plaudits from across the Carrera Cup GB paddock and beyond, and it has filled him with confidence heading into a five week break before the next rounds at Silverstone on 17/18 September.
Tom Oliphant: “It’s been an up and down weekend. Tuesday was so positive, we were really quick and had the car in a really good place, but the conditions changed for Friday and Saturday with a big increase in the wind speed, and I think other people adapted better than I did.
“Qualifying wasn’t ideal, I kept getting held up on my quick laps so wasn’t able to show my real pace, and then in race one I was shoved onto the gravel on the first lap. I fought my way back up to seventh though which I’m happy with, though sixth could have been mine with an extra lap or two.
“To come back from those disappointments and run in third place for so long in race two was brilliant. We got a fantastic start and then had a great battle with Sharp. I’ve had a few good races this season but that was probably the best one, we raced hard but fair and I really enjoyed it.
“The podium will come. Silverstone is a track that arguably should suit me better than here, and I go there fully focused on challenging for the top three, whilst also ensuring I keep hold of fourth position in the championship.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. James Lipman/Porsche