Tom Ingram said he “never expected” Speedworks Motorsport to show the championship-leading form they have done already in the opening three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meetings.
The Toyota Avensis driver left the third meeting of the season at Thruxton holding a 17-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship over reigning champion Gordon Shedden, after results of second, third and fourth.
Ingram has therefore finished inside the top five in eight of the nine races run in 2017 so far, the Speedworks outfit heading the championship for the second successive meeting.
The four-time BTCC race winner admitted that additional success ballast in the Toyota Avensis made the visit to Hampshire more challenging, but that his performance in Saturday’s qualifying session was one of his best of the season.
“We went to Thruxton with what we thought were very realistic expectations”, said the Toyota man, who qualified fourth on the grid. “We were obviously carrying a lot of weight, but it’s also a track that I love.
“We were quietly confident and knew after free practice that we had a consistently strong race car underneath us, but there was a major question mark over our qualifying form because we couldn’t get it hooked up the way we needed to.
“I really think that was one of the best performances we have ever produced given how much our backs were against the wall.
Speedworks Driver Points Totals In BTCC:
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Ingram felt that victory was possible in the closing stages of a truncated second race that lasted just six racing laps, adding “with just a few more laps, I’m confident we could have pushed for the win.”
“I was quicker than both Goff and Shedden in race one, but with the bigger picture in mind, there was no point in trying any risky moves. We were then in really good shape in race two, and it was a shame it was stopped.”
A charge to second place in race three ensured that Ingram extended his points lead, despite a moment in the latter stages of the race in his pursuit of race winner, Colin Turkington.
“I decided it was better to back off and settle for a safe second place”, he added, leaving the visit to Hampshire with a 17-point championship lead.
“The Avensis was fantastic all day, absolutely superb. We had the pace to challenge for victory in two of the three races. I really cannot praise the Speedworks guys and girls highly enough for what they are doing right now.
“To come away having actually extended our points lead is incredible. We honestly never expected to do so well and I still can’t quite believe what we have achieved over the first third of the season. It’s amazing.”
Photos: BTCC Media