Mon 16 May 2022

Consistency key for Ingram in WRC2 Junior bid

Chris Ingram is riding high after showing promising pace at the first two rallies of his WRC2 Junior campaign.

Ingram holds fifth in the WRC2 Junior contingent, which is open to drivers and co-drivers aged 30 and under. Without issues at both events, his position could have been very different. 

Early gearbox problems cost the Briton almost four-minutes at the Monte-Carlo season opener, while tyre troubles in Croatia hampered progress. He eventually finished third at the Zagreb event but salvaged an impressive third-fastest time overall on SS19 on Sunday. 

“WRC2 Junior is my focus this year, I think we’ve made some really big steps forward,” said Ingram. “Last year was really just about getting back into it after not doing anything through Covid, but this season I’ve made massive progress.

“In Monte we had a problem on the first night and lost like 3min 50sec or something. Mathematically, if you took that away, we would have won even though I didn’t feel like I was driving that well.

“Our pace in Croatia was probably the best I’ve shown, but there were just three or four stages where I had punctures or a dodgy tyre choice and that killed us really.”

Drivers in the WRC’s premier support category can count their best six scores from up to seven rally starts. With less than a quarter of the 2022 season complete, it’s still all to play for. 

Some of Ingram’s opponents – including as Toksport team-mates Nikolay Gryazin, Emil Lindholm and Marco Bulacia – already have vast experience on the world stage. 

Despite that, he believes a strong focus on maintaining a high consistency could be the key to matching and outpacing them.

“We’re getting closer and closer,” mused the 27-year-old. “The pace is good now, and I’m not concerned about my driving. It’s just about doing it consistently for the whole rally and not having any of these little problems.

“Consistency is going to be everything. We need to be on it for every single stage - we can’t afford to just have some good stages and then a few average ones. You need a bit of luck on your side and the correct strategy is so important in WRC.

“When you get to WRC level, that’s the difference. It’s easy going and driving fast for a day, but over three or four days everybody here is just on it for every single stage. It’s just insane.”

A huge 41 WRC2 cars will start Vodafone Rally de Portugal this week (19 – 22 May), with points leader Andreas Mikkelsen topping the entry.

Ingram finished third in WRC3 after teething troubles on his maiden visit to northern Portugal last year and remains buoyant about his chances.

“Last year was my first time in Portugal and we had a few struggles. But on the last day, the pace was really strong,” he said. 

“We’ve got a top car with Toksport, and I think we’ve got a really, really good chance. I think I’m up to the speed of the likes of Gryazin, Lindholm and Bulacia now, so I've just got to make it count on these next five events and have them.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM