Tom Oliphant made a return to the points positions in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the weekend courtesy of a battling display at his home circuit of Oulton Park.
Born and raised only 10 minutes down the road in Tarporley, the annual visit to Oulton Park always has added significance for Oliphant and this year was no exception, as he competed in front of a huge local crowd in the BTCC for the first time.
With a strong track record at the circuit during his time in Ginetta and Porsche competition, Oliphant headed into the weekend confident that he could pick up some strong results in his Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes A-Class.
After finishing 10th fastest overall in qualifying, Oliphant was forced to settle for 20th place in race one after an overtaking manoeuvre backfired, but he rallied well to register a points finish in race two by coming home in 13th position.
Oliphant had been confident of a top-10 finish in the final race of the weekend but was hit from behind metres from the starting line to send him spinning into another car and the pit wall. He was unable to restart the race owing to extensive damage to his Mercedes.
Oliphant said: “It’s been a mixed weekend that started with a really positive day on Saturday, where we had great pace in the car from the off.
“It was fantastic to qualify in the top ten once again and to have a better qualifying record than my team-mate at this stage is a welcome surprise.
“In hindsight I should have settled for 12th in the opening race, but I’m a racing driver and I went for the opportunity that was there.
“Sadly I got unnecessarily tapped into a spin and fell back to twentieth, which put us on the backfoot for the next two races.
“Race two gave me a chance to show the potential in the car and I was pleased to have kept my nose clean and picked my way through to thirteenth at the finish, which we hoped would have been the perfect platform to fight into the top 10 on the soft tyres in race three.
“I got an OK start off the line and was side-by-side with Rory Butcher, but sadly the driver behind decided to go for a gap that wasn’t there, hit us and eventually end the race of four drivers.
“It’s really disappointing to have had our weekend ended in the pitwall through no fault of my own.”
Prior to the race, Oliphant, competed at Oulton Park in support of The George Heath Foundation, also returned to his old stomping ground Tarporley High School with his Mercedes A-Class, giving the current students a chance to get up close and personal with the car and find out all about competing in the BTCC.
Gavin Johnson enjoyed a successful weekend on the track as he recorded two wins and two fastest laps in the latest round of the BRSCC Toyo Tyres Porsche Championship at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire.
Keen to build on the success of the last round at Knockhill, Frodsham driver Johnson qualified second on a damp track, missing out on pole position by 0.05 of a second.
Race one saw Johnson take the lead on the second lap, passing Hugh Peart in first place to hold on for the victory with a comfortable 13-second gap to his nearest rival, earning fastest lap points for his Championship title bid in the process.
The second race saw Johnson leap of the line and take the lead by turn one.
He held a 10-second lead by lap four but suffered a snapped throttle cable which prevented him accelerating, resulting with a no points finish and a DNF.
But he bounced back in the reverse grid race three, climbing the field before duelling with Peart for top spot.
Johnson emerged victorious after taking advantage of a mistake on the breaks by Peart, taking the chequered flag.
Johnson said: “Im learning all the time.
“Cadwell was a solid weekend for me, the DNF in race two was hard to take, but two wins and two fastest laps was a strong showing.
“The team at PDC did a great job of sorting the car and I can’t wait to get back out again at Rockingham in three weeks time. Big thanks to PDC, Howdens Joinery and SR Electrical for their continued support.”
Andy Meyrick is to get behind the wheel next month for the Total 24 Hours of Spa race.
The Delamere racer will be part of the Team Parker Racing outfit in a Bentley Continental GT3 – his sixth time taking part in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup’s season highlight.
As a previous factory driver for Bentley, starting at the end of 2013 through to 2015, Meyrick has enjoyed multiple victories and podiums behind the wheel of the GT3.
Results include victories at the 2014 Silverstone and Paul Ricard Blancpain endurance rounds as well as podiums at the 2015 Paul Ricard, Monza and Nürburgring endurance rounds.
For the 70th running of the legendary Belgian race, Meyrick joins Team Parker Racing and the Pro-Am line-up of Sebastian Morris, Derek Pierce and Rob Smith.
“Really excited to be racing at Spa again this year as I believe it’s the toughest 24-hour race in the world,” said Meyrick.
“To be there with Team Parker Racing and driving a Bentley is fantastic. The team have had a great deal of success so far this season. I look forward to joining them.”