17 March 2024 | General

Oliphant Prevails in All-Time Classic in Tasmania

Tom Oliphant has emerged with the victory in an what was an instant classic at AWC Race Tasmania for the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series.

The final race of the weekend started with Dylan O’Keeffe and Oliphant on the front row, but it was Jordan Cox with the best launch which placed the Schaeffler GRM entry second on the road on lap one.

Cox quickly passed O’Keeffe for the race lead on lap three, bringing Oliphant in tow. The two drivers rubbed panels and Oliphant lost ground, coming perilously close to being turned across the nose of Zac Soutar in fourth. The battling drew the entire field into the fray, creating a remarkable chain of events over the next few laps.

Ben Bargwanna was dispatched off the road from sixth place on lap five, just missing the back of Oliphant’s HMO Customer Racing Hyundai as he slid through turn two. A few corners later, O’Keeffe attempted to reclaim the lead from Cox, and forced his way through at the hairpin. The duo both lost out however, to Soutar who took his Tufflift Racing entry to the front.

In a scene more akin to Daytona, Oliphant drafted his way back up to second, while O’Keeffe was demoted back to fifth behind Cox and a hard charging Clay Richards in third. Aaron Cameron slid through the turn two apex on two wheels into the side of Cox and O’Keeffe, which allowed the top three to pull away from the battling behind.

On lap 11, Oliphant made the decisive move on Soutar to take over command of the race lead. The British driver didn’t look back, going on to record his second victory in TCR Australia.

Richards banged wheels with Soutar on lap 14, as the Carl Cox Motorsport Cupra rose up to second place – up six from Richards’ eighth place on the grid.

Soutar slowly fell into the clutches of Josh Buchan, who drew alongside the Audi in the closing laps. The pair made contact at turn five with Buchan sent spinning at high speed into the grass, but remarkably avoiding the tyre wall and significant damage.

O’Keeffe capitalised to pass Soutar for third, with the Team Valvoline GRM duo of Cameron and Ryan Casha watching on.

After 29 laps Oliphant greeted the chequered flag to win by 2.2070s over Richards, with O’Keeffe fending off a resurgence from Soutar to take third.

Full results are available here.

Soutar now leads the Drivers’ Standings, by three points over Bargwanna and Cox. Buchan is just eight points adrift of the lead in fourth, ahead of Richards in fifth.

Round three for the 2024 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series follows the Shannons SpeedSeries to Phillip Island, from April 12-14.