Monday | 15 Aug 2022

Underdog Ingram fired up for Belgian battle

Chris Ingram’s preparations for this week’s Ypres Rally Belgium (18 - 21 August) were boosted as the youngster set the pace in a warm-up event last weekend.

The Briton - currently second overall in the WRC2 Junior standings - claimed a hat-trick of stage wins at Rally van Staden, a practice event held in the Flanders region with no final classifications.

This week he will pilot a Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo at the WRC’s ninth round in a bid to reclaim the championship lead from Emil Lindholm, who is not contesting the rally. 

Ingram has enjoyed a consistent season so far and scored back-to-back WRC2 Junior podiums at his last three events. However, he has been out of action since Rally Italia Sardegna in June. 

“Last weekend was really good,” he told WRC.com. “There’s still some more speed to come with some fine-tuning on the set-up, but it was great to get back in the car and I feel like we’ve got a good chance this week.

“Ypres is always a mega place to go to and the atmosphere is just epic. I think I’ve done it three or four times in the past, but never with a four-wheel drive car - so we’ll have to see how we get on early on. 

“You never know what can happen in this rally, especially when it’s wet. Even last weekend, there were a lot of people going off the road or having punctures even though it was just a test event,” he added.  

While Ingram’s WRC2 Junior title bid remains number one priority, the 28-year-old is also hoping to shake up the overall WRC2 standings and believes he has the pace to challenge some of the more experienced regulars. 

The likes of Andreas Mikkelsen, Yohan Rossel, Stéphane Lefebvre and Jari Huttunen will all star in the classic asphalt fixture, while a host of rapid local drivers also feature on the entry.

Ingram's last WRC outing was Rally Italia Sardegna in June

“I definitely feel like the underdog,” Ingram admitted. “You’ve got the likes of Mikkelsen, Lefebvre and Rossel - drivers who have been around for quite a while now and everybody considers them to be really quick. 

“But sometimes I think it’s easy for people to underestimate the younger guys like myself. Our pace has been getting stronger and stronger all year and I think this week is a chance to prove what we can do.

“At this point, we can start to look at our times in the whole WRC2 field now. That’s our plan and where we want to be next year, so we can start getting ready for that.”

Mikkelsen, Rossel and Lefebvre each withdrew from Rally van Staden before completing all 13 special stages, while Ingram’s Toksport team-mates Nikolay Gryazin and Marco Bulacia both crashed out. 

Grégoire Munster also failed to finish when he rolled his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 on the fourth stage. It remains to be confirmed whether he will be able to start the rally on Thursday.

  • Full coverage from Ypres Rally Belgium will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

Read more news