Brands Hatch BTCC: Oliphant holds on to beat charging Shedden

BMW racer Tom Oliphant held on to secure victory from a fast-closing Gordon Shedden in the first race of the British Touring Car Championship round at Brands Hatch.

While poleman Dan Rowbottom let his revs drop too far and struggled away from the start, Oliphant lit things up in his rear-wheel-drive, West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330i M Sport to surge from fourth on the grid into the lead by Paddock Hill Bend.

Aiden Moffat was another rear-driven racer on a mission, and the Scot, from fifth on the grid, sailed his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 around the outside of Shedden’s front-row-starting Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R at Paddock Hill Bend to move into second.

Tom Ingram also got ahead of Shedden at Graham Hill Bend, but ran wide at Clearways, allowing the three-time champion back into third. Shedden, with the other LTR Infiniti of Ash Sutton in tow, then homed in on Moffat.

Sutton tried to round Shedden at Paddock on the fifth lap of 24, before Shedden then got inside Moffat at Druids to move into second. At the end of that lap, Oliphant was 3.776 seconds to the good, and the gap remained above 3s until lap 14.

From that point on, Shedden set fastest lap and began taking bigger chunks out of the BMW. With a lap to go the gap was 0.828s, and Oliphant was catching the lapped Hyundai of Rick Parfitt Jr.

Parfitt delayed Oliphant at Surtees and McLaren, but then jumped out of the way in time for the Cheshire man to just hold off Shedden at the flag.

“I absolutely attacked the first few laps, and I just needed to manage it after that,” said Oliphant. “I allowed Gordon to eat into the gap, because I wanted to have some tyres left if there was a safety car.”

Shedden added: “We just lost too much track position early on in the opening three or four laps, and I didn’t have time to get to him. That left me with too much to do.”

Rowbottom, who had been “too clever” trying to minimise wheelspin at the start, dropped to seventh on the opening lap. But the BTCC sophomore picked his way through the pack in methodical fashion, and got into third when he passed Moffat for third at Druids on lap 10.

The overtaking had taken too much from Rowbottom’s tyres, but he comfortably completed a Dynamics Honda 2-3 and left his heavily ballasted pursuers behind. These were led by Jake Hill, who at mid-distance found a chink of light to Moffat’s inside into Clearways, and chiselled it wide enough for him to slip his Motorbase-run MB Motorsport Ford Focus ahead.

The consequence was that Moffat rapidly lost further places to Sutton, Ingram and Chris Smiley as he fell to eighth.

Hill, running 39kg of ballast, spent the rest of the race fending off championship leader Sutton, with the full 75kg of weight whack on his Infiniti, in a close race for fourth. Ingram, with 66kg on his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N, fell away from this pair as the race wore on, but held on from team-mate Smiley and Moffat for sixth.

Stephen Jelley took ninth on the road, but a 5s penalty for a false start demoted his WSR BMW to 15th. Up to ninth therefore came Josh Cook, on 48kg of ballast in his BTC Racing Honda, and the top 10 was rounded out by Jack Goff’s Team Hard Cupra Leon.

Colin Turkington had a disastrous race in his WSR BMW, carrying 57kg of success weight.

The four-time champion was running 14th when contact with Sam Osborne’s Motorbase Ford at Clearways precipitated a spin, and he finished 21st.

shares
comments

Related video

Turkington “in right place” despite midfield start at Brands Hatch

Previous article

Turkington “in right place” despite midfield start at Brands Hatch

Next article

Brands Hatch BTCC: Ingram wins thriller on last lap

Brands Hatch BTCC: Ingram wins thriller on last lap
Load comments
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Prime

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s been a lot of fat to chew elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action.

BTCC
May 7, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Prime

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes.

BTCC
May 5, 2021
The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020

The 2020 British Touring Car Championship will go down as a classic in which new winners graced the top step of the podium and an unloved chassis was resurrected into a champion. But who were the year's top performers?

BTCC
Dec 24, 2020
The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020 Prime

The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020

The Infiniti Q50 was completely redesigned, redeveloped and revamped by BMR and Laser Tools Racing for 2020. And the flamboyant brilliance of the driver behind the wheel was enough to snatch the title at the last gasp…

BTCC
Dec 11, 2020
Why the BTCC social media trolls have got it wrong Prime

Why the BTCC social media trolls have got it wrong

A number of drivers on this year's British Touring Car Championship grid have been called out on social media for taking other people's seats, whether they are older or drivers who are deemed to have less talent. Matt James busts the myth

BTCC
Mar 27, 2019
How the BTCC's class of 2018 ranked each other Prime

How the BTCC's class of 2018 ranked each other

The BTCC keeps getting more competitive - this season produced another new record number of winners. That made picking a final top 10 an unenviable task, so we enlisted the help of those who were in the heat of the action to decide the order.

BTCC
Nov 2, 2018
Can a champion be worthy if he only won one race? Prime

Can a champion be worthy if he only won one race?

Titles should be won by the driver who claims more victories than anyone else, so convention goes. Does the unpredictable nature of the British Touring Car Championship render that notion obsolete?

BTCC
Oct 10, 2018
BTCC's hybrid future faces urgent hurdles Prime

BTCC's hybrid future faces urgent hurdles

The British Touring Car Championship recently announced it is investigating how to incorporate hybrid technology into its future machines. In doing so it's following the higher echelons of motorsport, while also revealing risks for its grassroots.

BTCC
Aug 19, 2018