Tom Oliphant has continued his hugely impressive start to his maiden Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East campaign with a superb podium finish during the second meeting of the season at the Dubai Autodrome (09/10 December).
After narrowly missing out on the top three in the opening race of the meeting, Oliphant fought to a fantastic second place finish in the final encounter – a result which added to his podium in the season opener has moved him up to third in the championship standings.
With confidence high following his superb debut performance in Bahrain three weeks previous, Oliphant flew to Dubai with more silverware the primary target as he returned to the scene of a brilliant class victory in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai back in January.
The 26 year old would be immediately on the front-running pace in his Lechner Racing-run Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car during Thursday practice, which he would convert into the fifth fastest time in both the opening free practice and qualifying sessions the next day.
A frustrating start to round three though would see Oliphant slip back to seventh on the approach to the first corner, but the Leamington Spa racer would produce a great fightback drive as he stormed through to fourth position, despite racing on older tyres to the drivers around him.
Eventually taking the chequered flag just half a second shy of the final podium position, Oliphant headed into day two with the top three firmly in his sights and his efforts were aided by a blistering lap in qualifying that put him third on the grid for race two.
Another slow launch off the line would drop Oliphant back to fifth at the start, but an instant reaction would see him move back into fourth by the end of the opening lap, before producing another slick overtaking move to take third next time around.
In the midst of a four-car battle at the front of the field, Oliphant would expertly scythe his way into second place on lap four, before producing a composed, faultless drive as he maintained a gap to his pursuers for the remainder of the race to take a top two finish.
Oliphant’s best result in the Middle East so far has put him just ten points adrift of the joint championship leaders ahead of a seven week break over the festive period, with the action resuming back at the Dubai Autodrome on the 27/28 January 2017.
Tom Oliphant: “It’s been a really positive weekend in Dubai, and I’m delighted to get back on the podium. We really focused on qualifying this weekend and getting the lap in at the right time for the tyres, and to achieve that is a massive step forward.
“I really enjoyed the two races, pulling off some mega moves, but I had to do that because the starts were poor again. I was blessed to have a lot of friends and family supporting me in Dubai, so to take home a trophy in front of them was extra special.
“We’ve still got lots to learn, but we’re making great progress and I’m really happy to be heading into the Christmas break third in the championship. Roll on 2017!”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche Middle East