Oliphant shows '˜mega moves' for Dubai second

Tom Oliphant continued his impressive start to his maiden Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East campaign with a superb podium finish at the second meeting of the season at the Dubai Autodrome.

Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 3:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th December 2016, 11:22 am
Tom Oliphant, far left, on the podium in Dubai. Picture: Porsche Middle East

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 converted 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 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.

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.

He said: “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.”