Tom Ingram praised his Speedworks Motorsport squad for their winter efforts after grabbing a maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship pole position for the season-opening round at Brands Hatch.
The 22-year-old set the pace earlier in the day’s opening free practice session at the 1.21-mile Indy circuit, but saved his best burst until last with a lap record-lowering 47.990s effort.
Ingram’s qualifying time eclipsed that of reigning champion Gordon Shedden before a light sprinkling of rain hit the Kent circuit, a factor that the Toyota Avensis driver knew he had to play to perfection.
“We parked in front of the garage, saw that the rain was coming and tried to get a time in early”, an ecstatic Ingram told The Checkered Flag after qualifying.
“We managed to pick the time off very early on. I came across the line, saw a 47.9 and thought “Jesus, that seems quick!”
“I knew we were trying to hold something back for FP1 and FP2, which was one of the things I learned from last year. We tried last year to show our hand too much and it took too much out of the tyres.”
The effort also lowered the 2011 lap record held formerly by Matt Neal around the Indy layout, an accolade Ingram took heart in claiming as his own.
“Absolutely. To know that that’s the fastest ever lap that’s been done around here is quite a feeling.
“It’s huge”, Ingram added, singing the praises of his Speedworks team after their first pole position since arriving in the BTCC back in 2011.
“We hadn’t had a lot of testing over the winter, but for the team we’ve done a bloody good job to put a package together and it works well on the Avensis.
“A lot of late nights, a lot of hours looking at computer screens, but it’s been a real team effort over the winter.”
Ahead of the opening three races of the season on Sunday, Ingram added that he expects the Avensis to handle the race distance well against his Halfords Yuasa Racing rivals.
He concluded: “We’ve done a lot of long runs over the winter and runs with a lot of weight in the car, just to see how it’s looking. It looks like it has been working very, very well and so have the tyre wear figures that have come back.
“We’ll wake up tomorrow and see how we’re looking”