Wednesday | 07 Apr 2021

Ex-European champion Ingram breaks into WRC

Former European champion Chris Ingram has sealed a two-year FIA World Rally Championship programme starting with this month’s Croatia Rally (22 - 25 April).

The 26-year-old Briton will tackle a six-round WRC3 programme this season in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo prepared by Belgian squad SXM Competition. He will step up to WRC2 next year.

Ingram and co-driver Ross Whittock won the European title in 2019 after raising a shoestring budget through crowdfunding but took a back seat last year when a move up to world level fell through. They will compete under the Rally Warrior banner.

Ingram has only eight WRC starts under his belt but has claimed three class wins at Rally GB as well as finishing third in WRC2 and ninth overall in Turkey in 2018. Learning the ropes will be the target for this year.

“Experience is so important in the WRC, which is so tough and competitive,” he said. “And you only get experience by getting to the finish of each event you start.

“So, in year one, the objective is to keep a calm head, not do anything stupid, learn as much as possible and complete as many kilometres as possible.

“Points and podiums on top of all that would be a massive bonus, but there’s no pressure on me to do that. The only pressure is to get myself in a position where I can go for top results in year two.”

Ingram’s last major competitive outing came when he clinched the European crown in Hungary in November 2019 and he acknowledges it could take time to settle at WRC level.

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“It’s been almost 18 months since I last drove a top level rally car so I’ve got to build up my confidence, learn the events and adapt to the championship because it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done. The world rally rounds are another level. I’m going to give it everything.

“All the events I’m planning to do will be new for me, it’s a new team and I’m up against the best drivers in the world. I know it’s not going to be easy but I’ve never had it easy in my career. I’m looking forward to facing all of the challenges head on as always,” Ingram added.

Ingram has battled depression in his personal life, something he is open about.

“I achieved a dream when I became European champion. However, competing against some of the fastest rally drivers on some of Europe’s most dangerous roads wasn’t the challenging part. I was struggling, fighting and overcoming a much harder battle with my own mental health.

“I hope that by being open about my challenges it will help other men to get talking. I have struggled with hard times in my personal life. I became very depressed when everything hit me all at once, financial pressures, relationships, family illnesses and the thought I couldn’t continue my career,” he added.

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