Tom Ingram scored a brace of top 10 finishes in a very promising maiden British Touring Car Championship weekend at Brands Hatch last weekend, a race three incident marring an otherwise strong showing that left the 20-year-old a happy man.
The reigning Ginetta GT Supercup champion stunned the experienced opposition in Saturday’s qualifying session at the Kent Indy circuit, securing sixth place overall in his maiden BTCC qualifying outing driving for the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis squad.
Ingram then continued his form the following day, dropping back with a sluggish start before settling into his first BTCC race and recording a ninth place finish by its conclusion, a result he matched in the second race which saw the Toyota rookie steer clear of trouble in a chaotic first lap.
Ingram looked set to add a third top 10 finish to round off his weekend, but an incident with former double BTCC champion Alain Menu heading towards Surtees late in the race spat the Toyota into a frontal impact with the barriers, ending a highly encouraging debut outing on a disappointing note.
The youngster could take many positives however from his Brands Hatch visit, telling The Checkered Flag: “As a debut weekend, I think we couldn’t have done much better.
“To have qualified sixth and then come away with two top-10 finishes in the first two races was well beyond our anticipations before the weekend. I’m pleased with it, I think that everything we’ve done is what we planned at the start of the weekend – obviously it didn’t end quite how we wanted it to.
“We’ve shown that we’re now at the front of the pack, and we’ve shown that I’d like to think we will be a force to be reckoned with.”
The Speedworks Toyota was left in a much more sorry state after its prang in race three while running comfortably inside the top 10, Ingram adding on the incident with Menu: “Obviously Alain will have his views and I’ll have mine.
“It’s not very nice and isn’t going to be a cheap one. It was pretty much a frontal hit and we managed to pop the rear screen out; there’s a fair bit of damage but nothing I’m sure my Speedworks guys aren’t up to. On to the next!”
15 points were Ingram’s reward from Sunday’s action, leaving him up in 11th place after his BTCC debut following round one.