Tom Ingram was pleased with a consistent opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship weekend at Brands Hatch despite the distraction of an apparent electrical problem.
In a carbon copy of last season, the Speedworks Motorsport man took the opening race win of the season after rounding pole-sitter Jeff Smith into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time of asking.
Losing out to reigning champion Gordon Shedden in race two at Clearways, second place and 11th in the third race that followed was enough to leave him second in the championship, six points behind Shedden.
“I’m happy. A solid hall of points is good to go with and we were looking for that this weekend”, Ingram told The Checkered Flag.
“We knew we had a quick car and knew we had the pace for pole and race wins, but it’s even better when you show that you can actually do it straight away.”
The Toyota driver was one of many that left the visit to Kent encouraged by pace shown when carrying more success ballast, insisting that the updated Avensis had made big leaps from last season.
“We’ve taken a big, big step forward and we can see that by the way that we carried the weight. The last race didn’t show much because we were on the soft tyre, but in race two we were able to put into practice what we’d learned carrying the weight in winter testing.”
Dramas pulling away on the warm-up laps in race two were an unwanted distraction for Ingram however. Although investigations continue into the week, Ingram said he found his own unique route around the problem.
“We still don’t know what the issue was”, he said. “We think it was an electrical fault; I pulled into the grid box, put the handbrake on and came off the foot brake and it went up to full rev limiter all on its own as if the throttle was stuck open. So I power cycled it (turned it off and on again). It happened again on the second start, then in race three I didn’t use any tricks and pulled away with the start of my life!”
Donington Park is next on the calendar on 15/16 April, Ingram saying that ballast will again be a key factor.
“Once we get rid of the weight in the first race, we can make up for it.”