Tom Ingram insists that putting his front-wheel drive Toyota on the front row of the grid for the first British Touring Car Championship race at Knockhill is ‘pretty good going’.
Ingram had looked set to take a third pole position of the 2016 season in Scotland until he was pipped to the post in the final seconds by a charging Jason Plato.
But Ingram was not too phased by losing out on another pole, instead being buoyant with a ‘surprise’ front row starting position at a circuit which favours those in rear-wheel drive machinery.
“I’m not disappointed, but it was kind of expected, to be honest with you,” said Ingram to TouringCars.Net, referring to having pole snatched away by a rear-wheel drive machine. “To have done that with front-wheel drive around here I think is pretty good going. We definitely didn’t expect it – we were kind of hoping just for a top ten.”
Ingram’s run was hampered by a puncture which he picked up in the later stages of qualifying, which also saw him go off the circuit and fill his radiator with grass, limiting his track time on new tyres.
“I picked up that puncture on one run which meant that I had to do that [time] on an old set of tyres,” he added. “It’s a case of ‘what could have been’ if I had new tyres on. It’s my cock-up, so I’ve got to take it on the chin!
“As soon as a puncture happens then you have to go to a spare set of tyres and carry over tyres then you know you’re in the shit. Luckily we managed to get a lap in.”
Ingram is notably the only driver in the top five who is in front-wheel drive machinery, and he is all too aware that he faces a particularly difficult task at the start of Sunday’s first race as a result.
“We’ve got 27 kg of ballast on, so we’ve still got a fairly substantial amount that’s going to be affecting us. Obviously be giving it a good shot but we’re mindful of the fact that around here we’re going to be sitting ducks, especially off that start with all of the rear-wheel drive [starters] around us, so it’s going to be fairly difficult.
“I’ll just give it my best shot, stay out of trouble, get some points and see what happens at the end of it. I want to go for a win as much as he [Plato] wants to go for a win. It’s quite convenient that he’s managed to qualify on pole for what will be his 500th race.”