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Tom Ingram: ‘I’m very happy with how it’s played out’

Excelr8 Motorsport’s Tom Ingram was pleased with qualifying as the best-placed front-wheel drive racer for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Snetterton on Sunday.

Ingram put his Hyundai in fourth for the opening race, qualifying three and a half tenths behind championship leader Colin Turkington, despite having the second least amount of hybrid boost available to him.

The 28-year-old will, however, line up in third after BMW’s Stephen Jelley was given a one-place grid penalty for impeding a rival in qualifying.

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“We’re the best-placed of the front-wheel drives so the balance was good,” said Ingram to TouringCars.Net. “The car felt pretty good and it felt nice.

“I’m very happy with how it’s played out, so if we can end up tomorrow with a car that is equally as good as it’s been today I think we’ll be in good shape.

“Are we quick enough to go against the rear-wheel drive guys? We’ll wait and see. The bit that’s been our strength historically against the rear-wheel drives has been those first laps.

“With 33 degrees tomorrow, we’ll have to see if we can still be punchy on the first lap and see if it’s our only choice.”

Whilst air temperatures hit 33°C and track temperatures 39°C degrees on Saturday, Ingram said he was coping well in the conditions, explaining that the temperatures were also having a big impact on lap times.

“Obviously the car is feeling hot, everything is feeling warm in there, of course it is. We’re normally about 25 to 30 degrees above ambient in the car, so we’ve been at 60 degrees today so it’s been hot, but it’s been alright.

“[The tyres] are coming in a bit quicker and going off a bit quicker, so everything is just working a little bit harder as you’d expect and nothing is lasting as long ultimately.

“The biggest thing is the variation of the circuit over the course of the day from free practice one. Look at the times we did in free practice – we’re nowhere near them in qualifying, so it’s quite unusual in that regard.

“And the circuit is getting dustier and dustier. Everyone is going out and cutting the inside, dropping wheels on the outside and it’s just filling the circuit with a layer of dust. It’s really, really slippery. Because it’s such a fine, fine dust, it’s super slippery, and you can’t see it.”

Ingram added that the high track temperatures had created a situation unlike anything usually seen in the BTCC.

“We’re 15, nearly 16 degrees above the track temperature from when we were here at the tyre test. We’ve never driven anything like that, apart from world touring car stuff.

“In terms of a UK circuit, we’re not used to that stuff, so none of us have really had a bank of data to go off, so in that regard we’re all maybe starting a little bit from scratch.”

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