A day after celebrating his 17th birthday, Tom Ingram game himself the best present possible with victory in Round 13 of the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship, in the process moving himself into the championship lead.
Despite all the pre-race build up focusing on Jake Hill and Louise Richardson at the front, it was Ingram who dominated qualifying to take pole position, before coming out on top of a race long battle his title rivals to record his second win of the year.
The Hillspeed driver secured pole by 0.730 seconds ahead of TJ Motorsport duo Richardson and Jody Fannin, with Team Parker Racing's Chris Swanwick completing row two. Hill lined up on row three with Maverick Domene, who secured his best qualifying performance of the season.
At the start, the front row pairing had similar starts and headed side by side into Copse, with Richardson on the inside line taking the lead. Ingram quickly retook the lead into Becketts though and led as they headed down Wellington Straight for the first time. Behind though, Richardson had a run and slid down the inside into Brooklands, forcing Ingram wide in the process.
As they headed onto lap two, Richardson managed to build up a small advantage ahead of Swanwick, with Ingram recovering from his excursion to third, ahead of Hill, Domene and Fannin. Richardson was helped with those behind beginning to battle hard for second. Ingram got a run on Swanwick as they headed down the Wellington Straight, but the latter was keen to hold on to second, forcing Ingram off the track as they approached Brooklands. Ingram kept his foot in and managed to stay side by side with Swanwick, before making his move stick into Luffield, with Hill seizing the opportunity to push Swanwick down to fourth.
Behind, Fannin found himself defending hard from the Moore siblings for sixth, though their battle ended prematurely after contact with David on lap three at Copse retiring both on the spot. Back at the front, Richardson began the lap with a 1.9 second lead, though was quickly caught by Ingram and Hill, here lead cut to 0.1 seconds on lap four.
Richardson began having to defend hard, with the three title rivals running nose to tail throughout the lap. The pressure appeared to get to Richardson, with the youngster running wide at Copse on lap five, with Ingram and Hill jumping at the mistake, pushing her to third. Hill then quickly set about getting the lead, moving past Ingram at Brooklands. Ingram fought back quickly though, retaking the lead at Copse.
As they race headed towards its closing stages, Ingram began to edge away, with Hill and Richardson continuing to run nose to tail for second, each wanting the extra points on offer for the runner up spot. Their battle reached its climax on an exciting final lap. Richardson looked to have gained the advantage at Copse, sliding past for the position, but Hill fought back at Becketts with a superb move around the outside. His hard work was wasted at the next corner though, with pressure from Richardson forcing him into a mistake, the Tollbar driver braking late and running wide, Richardson seizing the chance to cement second place.
At the front though, Ingram swooped clear to take the win, three seconds clear of Richardson and Hill. After a superb drive, fourth place went to Tockwith's Domene, clearly his best ever finish in the series, with Swanwick six seconds behind in fifth. FML racer Alex Austin finished six, ahead of reigning champion Sarah Moore. Piranha Motorsport's Ryan Ratcliffe secured his best ever finish with eighth, after brilliantly working his way up from 17th on the grid, while Jake Giddings and Adam Bonham completed the top ten.