Team Toyota GB’s Tom Ingram feels he is “back in the game” after a confidence-boosting British Touring Car Championship weekend at Snetterton saw him snatch pole and a race win.
The 2018 runner-up had already secured the maiden victory for the new-for-2019 Toyota Corolla in the third contest at Donington Park, but described the feeling of scoring pole position by just two thousandths from Dan Cammish as even more rewarding.
He then fended off pressure from the Honda driver in race one to convert pole to victory, before a wastegate issue hampered his chances of doubling up in race two and forced him to produce a recovery drive in the final encounter.
He told TouringCars.Net he can feel “smug” about his results at the Norfolk circuit, and the “insane” pace bodes extremely well for the remainder of the 2019 campaign.
“I can feel smug about this weekend because I feel like we’re back in the game. I feel like we’ve got the car back, I feel like I’m back with a load of confidence,” said Ingram.
“I feel really confident for the second half of the year – really, really confident. The car was just insane this weekend, it was so good.
“So it’s really exciting, we were a second-and-a-half quicker than any other of the hard tyre runners in race three as well. 23rd through to eighth at the end, it felt like one of the old-school drivers where I could just slice through the pack.
“It’s really exciting and I think people have got to keep an eye out for us now because I definitely think we’re going to be challenging for a lot more weekends like this now for the rest of the year.”
Ingram was forced to defend heavily in race two with maximum ballast and the medium tyre, with faster soft-shod runners pressurising him for the lead.
Despite this, Ingram felt he had the race “under control” until the wastegate issue dropped him to the back of the pack and out of contention for victory.
“We noticed it with five laps in, all of a sudden. This was when everyone was around me and we thought hang on a second, there’s something going on,” he explained.“When I came out of the hairpin I had no turbo boost and I knew something was up, so it was hard work.
“I felt like I had the race under control – the reason I was having to defend was because of the issue, until that point I felt like I had the race in control.
“I didn’t have to defend, I was looking in my mirrors obviously but the car was good, I felt like I had the pace. I genuinely think we could have had two race wins.
“It got snatched away from us, it is what it is ultimately. It was nice to be able to reset from that and have an old-school mentality of ‘It’s alright, we’ll get it back and we’ve got the pace to come through the field.’”
After a solid start to the season for the Corolla, Ingram is now feeling “excited again” to be challenging regularly at the sharp end.
“From a mental preparation point of view I feel so much more happy in the whole operation,” Ingram said.
“I feel good about it now, I feel excited again. I’ve got a spring back in my step.
“I feel like I’m back and the car is back, we’re back as a team so watch out for the second half of the year.”