Tom Oliphant narrowly missed out on bringing his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup GB campaign to a close with a return to the podium as he produced a pair of impressive drives during the season finale at Brands Hatch this past weekend.
Returning to the scene of his memorable Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup title success twelve months ago, Oliphant headed into the meeting in buoyant mood after securing his breakthrough Carrera Cup GB podium finish last time out at Silverstone.
Oliphant would kick off the meeting by producing promising dry weather pace during official testing on Friday in his Redline Racing Porsche 911, though a change of conditions for qualifying the next day presented a new challenge for the Mulgari and Philips-supported driver.
With the grip levels on the world famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit slowly improving as the session wore on, Oliphant had to leave it late to post his best times, with a quickest effort of 1m 38.868s securing him seventh on the grid for both races on Sunday.
With the sunshine back out for raceday, Oliphant was confident of moving forwards during the opening encounter, though a sluggish getaway for the driver directly in front of him would ultimately cost them a position heading through the first corner.
By the end of the opening lap the Leamington Spa racer was back up to seventh though and following a short safety car period, Oliphant was a man on a mission and produced an incredible overtaking move around the outside of Jonas Gelzinis at the fastest part of the circuit.
Not content with doing it just once though, Oliphant would sensationally repeat his fearless overtake on Alessandro Latif a few laps later, with that move combined with a spin for a rival moving him into fourth position with eight laps remaining.
A gap of nearly two and a half seconds would separate Oliphant from the final podium position, but that didn’t faze him and he produced some blistering lap-times as he closed the gap to just 0.125s at the chequered flag – leaving him feeling the podium would have been his with just one more lap.
The second encounter, would prove to be a quieter affair for Oliphant in his Bandera, Clearview Coaching and Horizon-backed 911, with an early opportunistic move securing him sixth position that he would maintain for the remainder of the race as he carried some damage from early contact.
The weekend’s results mean Oliphant finishes his maiden Carrera Cup GB campaign a brilliant fourth overall in the final championship standings, whilst they also mean he now has a truly remarkable record of finishing in the top six in 48 of his last 50 races in one-make GT competition.
Tom Oliphant: “It’s been an up and down weekend to be honest. This is a really ballsy circuit and it takes a bit of time to get used to in this car, and then qualifying really didn’t go to plan, so starting seventh for both races was a big ask.
“We did really well in the opening race, making a couple of great overtakes around the outside at the back of the circuit to get up to fourth. We had that pace in the car again for race two, but some early contact from a racing incident meant the car was difficult to drive all race and I couldn’t make much ground.
“Overall it’s still a great way to end the season. We’ve finished fourth in the championship and if someone had told me at the start of the year we could have achieved that, I’d have snapped their hand off.
“A huge thank you to the Redline team and my mechanic Alex for all the hard work they’ve done, and to all my sponsors for their support during the season.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. James Lipman/Porsche