Tom Ingram insists that the British Touring Car Championship title fight ‘isn’t over by a long shot’ after the Excelr8 Motorsport driver moved back up to second overall in the drivers’ standings after Silverstone.
Ingram went into the event fifth in the standings, meaning he carried 39 kg into qualifying and race one – less than the 66 kg he had been used to carrying in previous events.
As such, the Hyundai driver managed to qualify in second on Saturday, just behind the dominant Rory Butcher, giving him a strong start to the weekend.
At the start of race one, Ingram claimed the lead, but he then lost it on lap three to Butcher, who had made his move just a yellow flag came in – which Ingram had thought was still in effect.
Thereafter Ingram focussed on defending second from the Vauxhall of Dan Lloyd, and he managed to hold off the PMR driver until the end to secure his seventh podium of the season.
In race two, Butcher had the legs on the chasing pack to ease to another win, whilst Ingram battled with Josh Cook for second. Although he eventually lost out on lap 17 to his Honda rival, an exclusion for Cook handed second back to Ingram.
With 57 kg on board and starting tenth for race three, Ingram ultimately slipped outside the top ten to claim 12th, although he ended the weekend as the second-highest scorer behind Butcher.
Ingram is now 36 points behind championship leader Ash Sutton with six races left to run.
“I love racing at Silverstone, and I always seem to go well there,” said Ingram. “It’s so close that you really need to dig deep to find that last little bit, and I was very pleased to be right up at the sharp end and to qualify on the front row with 39 kg on-board.
“There’s no question that Saturdays have been our Achilles’ heel this season due to the weight. We simply cannot match a rear wheel-drive car in those situations, but the Hyundai definitely felt better for carrying a bit less ballast.
“Starting second significantly increased our chances of getting a good result out of races one and two – that was exactly what we needed, and I went into Sunday looking forward to the fight and to getting stuck in.
“I was happy with race one; considering the weight we had in the car, our pace was pretty good. Rory was mega quick all weekend, so I focussed on holding onto second place and scoring as many points as possible, and every time Dan got a little bit closer, we could just about cover him off.
“Dan and I have been competing against each other for a long time, so we have a lot of mutual respect and I enjoy racing with him. He’s a safe pair of hands and I knew he wasn’t going to try anything crazy, but I was equally aware that if I left a gap, he would fill it so I had to be on my guard.
“Race two was fairly busy as well. The fight with Josh was a lot of fun and it was enjoyable to be battling wheel-to-wheel. That’s what touring car racing is all about – door-to-door contact and trading paint.
“We lacked a little bit of pace compared to the two guys ahead, but I was still fairly pleased with the result.
“We were then thrown into the lion’s den in race three and had to try to box clever, given the ballast we were carrying and starting in the midst of a whole host of drivers with either no weight or next-to-no weight on-board.
“We struggled for straight-line speed, which made for a difficult end to the day and overall, it felt like a lot of hard work to ultimately take just one point out of the championship lead, but we will keep on pushing right to the end.
“We’re getting to the business stage of the season now, and this isn’t over yet by a long shot…”