BTCC: Oliphant takes his maiden win at Brands Hatch GP

Tom Oliphant took his first British Touring Car win just ahead of Ash Sutton for the final race of the weekend at the Brands Hatch GP circuit.

The final opening laps of this reverse-grid race were filled with drama as Aiden Moffat led into Paddock Hill and Jack Goff alongside started poorly to lose a handful of positions.

A huge incident unfolded on the first lap, just after Druids, caused by Goff tapping into the Hyundai of Chris Smiley, who then collected Tom Ingram’s Toyota Corolla who was innocently brought in to this pile-up.

Goff retired as did Ingram due to the damage caused on their cars. Josh Cook also retired with a mechanical issue.

Oliphant, carrying a 24 Kg success ballast, took the lead on the pit-straight at the end of lap one, passing Sutton, who carried double the amount of ballast in comparison to BMW.

Sutton continued to put pressure on Oliphant, and sat nose-to-tail behind him, followed by Stephen Jelly in his BMW 125i M Sport, and by the seventh lap Rory Butcher closed onto the trio.

Dan Cammish faced further bad luck as his FK8 Honda Civic Type R overheated again on lap 8, unable to escape the effects of the high ambient temperatures.

A battle for P11 between a trio of Honda Civics broke out, between Jake Hill, Matt Neal and Tom Chilton, with Hill leading them in his FK2 Civic.

But, both FK8s passed Hill at Surtees, when he suffered a puncture on lap 11.

The battle for the lead heated up as Sutton stayed on the tail of Oliphant lap-after-lap.

Rory Butcher’s luck was cut short due to a front-right puncture three laps before the end, and his team-mate ran wide at Paddock Hill, also retiring.

With Neate retiring earlier on lap 8, none of the Motorbase Performance cars finished this race.

Oliphant managed crossed the line 0.324s ahead of Sutton in second, taking his maiden BTCC victory whilst also claiming BMW’s 300th podium finish.

Oliphant reflected on the win: “The overtake was spectacular around the outside and then having Sutton right behind me the whole race – I couldn’t think of a worse person to be following me.

“I can’t quite believe it, I’m over the moon!”

Stephen Jelley took the final spot on the podium from Butcher’s puncture.

Behind was pole-sitter Moffat, and Colin Turkington, who still leads the championship for Team BMW by 16 points over Sutton.

The top-five finishers were all rear-wheel-drive cars.

Neal secured sixth position ahead of James Gornall, who took his best BTCC finish.

Behind was Chilton in eighth, Senna Proctor and Sam Osborne who rounded off the top-ten finishers.