For me to even race at Croft was an achievement in itself – getting a 'phone call from your team boss on the Thursday morning beforehand is never the best way to have to prepare yourself!
Happily, Plans Motorsport stepped in and saved the day by funding the weekend for me, so I have to say a massive 'thank you' to them for doing that.
Croft is one of my favourite circuits in the UK and I always go well there, so we were hoping we could come away from the weekend having further extended my championship lead – and after race one, that's exactly what we had done! Winning by nine seconds was the perfect way to begin. I was also batting for position with G55s; I ended up finishing fifth outright, and with just one more lap I may have got an overall podium! With my fifth pole position of the year, too – making it five-out-of-five – the weekend was going seamlessly, but what we didn't realise was that it was soon going to turn around on Sunday…
Sunday morning came and a very, very wet sight greeted us. It had been raining all night, so it looked almost a certainty for wet tyres for our first race of the day. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case since as we were counting down to the start, the track was getting drier-and-drier until it was almost bone dry – but at that point we were on the 'green flag' lap and so couldn't change tyres without starting from the pit-lane.
With black clouds still on the horizon, we gambled and stayed on wets. I got off to a great start and made a pass on Carl Breeze into Turn One on the first lap to move up to second overall, but already I could feel my tyres starting to overheat. I tried to slow my pace down a bit and be super-smooth on the wheel, and then my prayers were answered – I saw some spots of rain on my windscreen, then some more and then some more!
It got to the point on about lap six where my inspired (well, sort of!) tyre gamble was looking like paying off. Four cars had gone off in front of me heading into the complex, which brought out the yellow flags, but then I was wiped out and sent into the wall myself by a fellow competitor who was later excluded. The car had a lot of damage and I was worried about whether we could put it back together in time, as we only had a short turnaround until the next race.
My boys at Plans did an unbelievable job in getting the car looking decent again, but unfortunately, we weren't able to give it a full check-over as we were so restricted on time. My engineer Mike was literally putting a new window in as I was getting in the car!
I was out in time for the race, though, and starting off the back of the grid I was fired-up and really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, we came round into the complex for the first time – the first left-hander at racing speed – and as a result of the previous crash something had been bent at the back right of the car, and the moment I turned the wheel it just spun instantly, sending me sliding across the wet grass and unable to stop.
It was heart-breaking, as it was such a small thing that caused the crash; we were just in such a rush to get the car ready again that it wasn't spotted. That's racing, though, I guess, you have to take the good with the bad and although it was a nightmare Sunday for us, I still have the points lead by 42 – or 60 on dropped scores.
Our sights are now set on extending our lead back up and beyond what it was on Saturday evening at Croft. I am working hard on my fitness and on securing the required budget for Snetterton – it's going to be difficult, but we don't give up!
Thanks so much once again to all my guys at Plans Motorsport who worked so hard to get the car back together – Graham, Mike, Emlyn the gremlin, Matt, Max and Marc – and don't forget to follow me on Twitter at @TomIngram80 and also on my website (www.tom-ingram.com).