Posted on Wed 26th Sep, 2018 in: Team News
W2R Motorsport’s Jack Oliphant has been crowned the 2018 Ginetta G40 Cup vice-champion after ending the season on the perfect note with a brilliant victory in the final race of the year during the season finale weekend at Donington Park (22/23 September).
While Jack took his seventh podium finish of a superb campaign, his father Paul Oliphant also starred in Leicestershire as he battled right at the front of the field on his way to a Chairman’s Cup victory, while series debutant Roy Alderslade also impressed with a stunning qualifying performance.
Saturday’s qualifying session took place in changeable conditions, with Alderslade taking full advantage of a gamble on wet tyres to put his W2R Motorsport Ginetta G40 second on the grid in his first appearance in the series and his second with the team following an outing in GRDC last month.
Alderslade unfortunately slipped back during the opening race of the weekend that afternoon though after running in the top five, with his place in the podium mix being assumed by Jack Oliphant, who climbed from fifth on the grid to second place.
Sadly a spin dropped him down the order, but he fought back to eighth; two places behind Paul Oliphant who produced a sensational drive on his way to sixth position, with his third outright top six finish of the year earning him the Chairman’s Cup win.
Alderslade eventually took the chequered flag in 12th place, with Jimmy Thomson producing a strong fight back to 17th after being knocked back to 24th on lap one. Rob Keogh would be tackling car issues meanwhile, leaving him 12th on the grid and down in 21st in race one.
Keogh looked to bounce back in race two and a classy drive in the early stages saw him gain 11 places to tenth overall, however a driver error led to a retirement that ultimately proved costly in his efforts to challenge Jack Oliphant for second in the final standings.
Jack meanwhile was in a thrilling race-long, multi-car battle for the final position on the podium and eventually took sixth place at the flag, while Paul Oliphant produced a good fight back after dropping to P15 on lap one to come home in ninth overall and second in the Chairman’s Cup.
That result earnt Paul the honour of starting the final race of the season from the reverse grid pole position. A great opening lap saw him cross the line in second behind Jack for an Oliphant one-two, before eventually completing a Chairman’s Cup podium hat-trick in 11th overall.
Jack had risen from fourth to the lead on lap one and went on to maintain the advantage through to the chequered flag for his second win of the year, while the absolute drive of the weekend came from Keogh as he scythed his way through the field from P24 to seventh place.
Thomson had produced a strong drive in race two to climb from 17th to tenth at the flag and was battling for the top ten again in the final encounter when he got caught up in another driver’s incident, while Alderslade completed a solid debut weekend with 13th and 16th in Sunday’s races.
The weekend’s results ensured Jack Oliphant ends the season as the overall vice-champion, while Paul secured a superb top ten championship finish as the third highest Chairman’s Cup contender. Keogh meanwhile ends the campaign fifth in the points, with Thomson in 12th.
W2R Motorsport’s Ben Hyland: “It certainly proved to be another typically frenetic, rollercoaster weekend of Ginetta G40 Cup racing. Qualifying was a bit of a lottery with tyre choices, but it worked on wet rubber for Roy [Alderslade] and Jack [Oliphant] was once of the fastest on dry tyres.
“The star of the show in race one was certainly Paul [Oliphant]. He’s always been very strong at Donington Park and it showed this weekend. There was lots of competition in the Chairman’s Cup this weekend and he produced an exquisite display to take a hat-trick of top three fnishes.
“Unfortunately contact deprived us of a double victory for the Oliphant family in race three, however Paul should come away from the season with his head held high after a superb campaign, in which he showed huge progression and proved he can mix it right at the front of the field.
“His son Jack meanwhile was right in the podium battles throughout the weekend. Unfortunately it didn’t go his way in the opening races, but he emphatically delivered what we knew he could do in race three and showed his true pace and potential.
“Ending the year as vice-champion is a richly deserved accolade after driving extremely well all season. He was always learning and used the experience from any mistakes he made to improve as a driver. He could certainly achieve some more successful seasons in 2019 and beyond.
“It’s gutting for Rob [Keogh] to see his season end this way. We had some car issues on Friday and Saturday, which left him lower on the grid than usual and would ultimately cost him a shot at a positive weekend, but he showed his fighting spirit with a storming drive in race three.
“It’s still been a standout season for him though, finishing on the podium in each of the first five meetings. He had been toe-to-toe with Jack all year and they came into the finale a couple of points apart, so the least Rob deserved was a top three points finish, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
“It was a mega debut for Roy [Alderslade]. He moved up from the GRDC into a hugely competitive series and went on to stick it on the front row, which is remarkable. From there, he showed impressive pace in each of the races and came away with a fastest lap in class in race two.
“Jimmy was on the backfoot heading into the weekend due to no testing, but that didn’t faze him and he produced some fantastic racecraft in the races as he worked his way up the order. It’s just a shame that he retired in race three, but it’s still be a good season overall.
“All in all, it’s been a highly successful campaign, with a vice-champion, four race wins and eighteen podium finishes. Our qualifying and race pace has been good across the board and we had drivers on the podium each weekend in a competitive series.
“The Ginetta G40 Cup is a brilliant championship and it always seems to produce ultra-close racing, which is ideal for drivers looking to gain experience in motorsport within a positive paddock. We really enjoyed taking part in the championship this season.”