Tom Ingram is upbeat despite a frustrating pair of tyre blow-outs in qualifying for the British Touring Car Championship triple-header at Rockingham today [12th August].
The Speedworks Motorsport racer managed a fastest time of 1:23.346 seconds – good enough for 13th – and believes the Toyota Avensis will perform better in race trim regardless of the issues.
With the championship leader’s main title rival Colin Turkington just ahead on the grid for the opener in the WSR-run BMW 1-series, it could be a crucial day in the fight for honours, with just three meetings left after Northamptonshire.
“We had a little bit of an issue with a tyre failure that scuppered our plans, so we didn’t get the full allocation of laps on either set of tyres. So that put us on the back foot,” explained Ingram to TouringCars.net.
“All things considered, it’s about where everybody else is with weight, so I think we’ll be okay.”
The reigning Independents Champion admitted his focus needs to shift marginally to include Turkington as well as his own efforts at this stage of the campaign.
“I’ve got to try and beat him. That’s the plan, trying to take as many points out of him as we can. He’s going to be looking to do the same, but we’ve got to try and keep an eye on everyone else as well, there’s a long way to go with the championship, really.
“Sutton’s going to start to come back, Goff and Cook are quick, there are a number of drivers we’ve got to watch. Matt [Neal] is going to struggle, starting from the back with that weight on board, he’s probably going to have a tough day but it can turn around.
“We can only keep our focus on what we’re doing, keep an eye on what everyone else is doing and try to stay ahead of Colin if we can.”
Rain is expected to hit the 1.94 mile International Sports Car Circuit during the course of race day, with Ingram pointing out Rockingham’s low grip nature usually means even a little rain can make conditions difficult.
Regardless, he believes the Toyota will have better performance compared to its rivals once in race conditions.
“Our car is better in the race than qualifying, we know that we’ve struggled with our qualifying pace all year long. We can go into today fairly confident, obviously the weather is going to be changeable, so we’ll have to wait and see what it does.
“This place is really low grip, so it doesn’t take a lot of moisture and a lot of rain to make this place really slippery, so we’ve just got to wait and see what it does and make sure we’re in the best shape possible.”
The opening race of the weekend gets underway at 11:35 BST.