Tom Ingram expressed frustration about being knocked off the circuit in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Thruxton, leading to the erstwhile points leader finishing the race down in 21st.
Having started from eighth, Ingram was part of a pack of cars challenging Ash Sutton for third on the opening lap of the race.
Approaching Noble, Daniel Rowbottom, already ahead of Ingram, tried to pass Dan Cammish on the inside but the two made contact, sending Cammish spinning into the path of Ingram.
With nowhere else to go, the Excelr8 Motorsport driver had to take to the grass in avoidance and dropped to 16th.
Ingram then had to pit a lap later, even though he had re-gained four places, to have his radiator cleared as his engine was in danger of overheating due to the grass collected in the incident.
That dropped Ingram to the very back of the pack and denied him a chance to score points, also seeing him lose the championship lead to eventual winner Josh Cook in the process.
After the race, Ingram criticised the indefensible move between Rowbottom and Cammish on the opening lap.
“I’ll be honest I find it a little bit rubbish that anyone is making contact with anyone else on the first lap coming into Noble, especially when there’s already about three or four cars wide,” a frustrated Ingram told TouringCars.Net.
“It’s inexcusable for anyone to be firing anyone else off. I don’t deny that there’s a lot of people there, but we are also professionals so we shouldn’t necessarily be sticking our noses into places that aren’t going to be going anywhere. But it is what it is.”
Having had to pit and finding himself in clear air, Ingram came close to securing the fastest lap of the race, missing out by a mere 0.045 seconds – and he revealed afterwards that he had completely forgotten to use his hybrid as well.
“I trained myself yesterday to not use hybrid and I forgot to use hybrid when it came to doing my fastest lap. I was four hundredths off [the fastest lap].
“I completely forgot to use the hybrid because all of yesterday I was driving around with no hybrid going ‘this is alright’ but then when I did get to use it I completely forgot.”
Despite the poor start to his weekend, Ingram remained confident for races two and three, believing he has the pace to be in the mix for the reverse-grid race, where as many as the top 12 finishers from race two can be reversed.
“The car feels good. We’re quick enough to come back through, so it’s not the end of the day by any means.
“Yes, it was a crap first race and we’ve lost a lot of points but the day is not over because we’ve got a quick car and we can come through.
“I want to come through as quickly and as early as possible so I can be inside the top twelve to get a reverse grid and hopefully win race three.”
Ingram has now dropped to second in the drivers’ standings, 14 points behind Cook.