Oliphant at Croft (1)

Tarporley racing driver Tom Oliphant ended a frustrating Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race day at Croft.

Oliphant emerged with just a handful of points after finding himself on the receiving end of contact.

In a bruising three races in front of a packed crowd, the Team BMW driver showed his fighting spirit in race three as he bounced back from two non-scores to charge up the order.

Qualifying around the challenging 2.1-mile circuit proved to be as competitive as ever, with two red flag stoppages truncating proceedings along the way.

Leaving it late in the session, Oliphant punched in a best time of 1:22.190 to secure sixth on the grid.

But contact on the opening lap of race one left the 30-year-old fighting his way back up the order.

Squeezed off-line as the field streamed through the Jim Clark Esses, the BRDC Member received a hit at the rear on entry to Sunny In which sent him spinning to the back of the pack.

He recovered to 20th come the chequered flag.

And his race day didn’t improve in the second contest as he was forced to retire after suffering a broken right rear suspension.

Bringing the curtain down on his weekend from the back of the grid in race three, the rear-wheel-drive ace kept out of the chaos that ensued around him to charge up the order from 28th to finish 13th.

Oliphant endures tough weekend at Croft

Oliphant said: “It’s been a weekend of missed opportunities and one to ultimately forget.

“Had I qualified three hundredths of a second faster in qualifying then I’d have been on the second row and things may have been very different – that’s how racing goes though.

“In race one I was just taken out – which seems to be my calling card this year – however I was able to fight back a bit.

“Then in race two I dropped a wheel off the track ever so slightly and it ripped the rear suspension off the car.

“Race three was a pretty bruising contest but I was able to stay out of trouble and score a few points. The car was mega in clean air.

“Thankfully we go straight to Silverstone next weekend so I’m optimistic of better fortunes.

“It’s a circuit I’ve always enjoyed competing at and I’ve had plenty of success there down the years.

“My aim is to enjoy the weekend and see if we can pick up a few more trophies.”

BTCC is back in action this weekend (September 25/26) at the home of British Motor Racing, Silverstone, for the eighth event of the year.

(Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography)

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