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Tom Ingram ‘over the moon’ with best BTCC weekend

Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram says that he is ‘over the moon’ with his best weekend in the British Touring Car Championship to-date, after the 21-year-old scored a trio of top-ten finishes at Knockhill.

Ingram’s weekend did not start with on a positive note, however. In first practice the engine gave up on his Toyota Avensis towards the end of the session, causing him to miss second practice altogether at a circuit where he has never before raced a touring car.

Going into qualifying having only completed half a practice session, Ingram was an impressive 14th fastest and less than a second off the pace.

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“We knew we would be in for a struggle in qualifying after missing most of practice, and I was actually very surprised that we managed to line up as near to the front as we did considering the car was still a long way from where we wanted it to be,” said Ingram of his lap on Saturday.

From 13th on the grid (benefitting from a grid penalty for eBay Motors’ Rob Collard), Ingram made his way up to seventh by the end of the race, equalling his best-ever result in the BTCC.

“We worked hard and made some set-up changes overnight and that really paid off as we had mega pace in race one,” explained Ingram of his performance. “I was hoping we might be able to sneak into the top ten, so I was over-the-moon to finish seventh.

“There was a lot of action and drama kicking off all around and I really had to get my elbows out at times, but the car just felt amazing and really driveable. The Speedworks guys did a superb job with it and we were able to move forwards through the field really well.”

For race two, Ingram ran with the softer Dunlop tyre and was as high as fifth at one stage, before dropping down the order later on as his tyres faded. Nevertheless the Buckinghamshire driver finished seventh once more, amassing important points to close up on 12th-placed Jack Goff in the driver’s championship.

“I tried to make as much early progress as I could in race two, knowing that the performance of the soft tyres would drop off towards the end,” said Ingram. “I made sure to capitalise upon the initial advantage we had over the drivers on the harder rubber, and to catch and latch onto the battle for the podium was awesome. I was more than happy to finish seventh again, and delighted to have been right up at the front on genuine pace.”

Race three was a harder affair for Ingram as he blamed his tyres for dropping down to ninth, despite having earlier been battling for a podium finish with Dave Newsham in the first part of the race.

“We were really strong to begin with in race three and I felt comfortable and confident in third place, piling the pressure upon the driver in second,” continued Ingram. “I was biding my time and waiting for his tyres to fall away given that he was on the softer compound this time, but inexplicably it was mine that lost grip and I was effectively a sitting duck from there on in. That was a frustrating way to conclude the weekend, as we could have come away with so much more.

“Still, overall it was really encouraging to achieve three top tens for the first time in the BTCC, and fantastic to have been in the fight for the podium in two of the races around a track that we didn’t anticipate would be one of our better ones.

“It was a sizeable step forward and hopefully we can take another one next time – because ultimately, I’m not going to be completely happy until I’m on the highest step of the rostrum!”

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