Tom Ingram had his toughest weekend so far in the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Despite this, the Speedworks Motorsport man still scored valuable points in the second and third races at Thruxton whilst also smashing the race lap record.
Coming into the weekend, Tingram was the championship leader and was good value for this. He was the only driver up until the Thruxton weekend who had taken more than one victory.
In qualifying, he lapped his Toyota Avensis with maximum ballast into third on the grid which considering the weight disadvantage was a stupendous effort. However, a short time after qualifying had finished, the stewards decided to penalise Tom for track limit infringements which dropped the High Wycombe man to tenth.
Following a sterling start, Tom had managed to work his way up to fifth from tenth and was battling to get his Toyota into the top four. However, partway through the race the alternator decided to play up and Tingram had no other choice but to retire from race one. His first non-scoring round of the year.
Starting from last on the grid for race two on account of his retirement in the first race, Tom didn’t hang about in charging his way through those around him.
Taking seven cars on the first lap before taking another seven by lap four, the 24 year old managed to get into the points halfway through the race. Tom crossed the line in twelth following that monumental fightback through the field.
From twelth in the final race of the day, the Toyota was in fine form as Tom guided his way to seventh by the flag. Also during the final race, Tingram managed to smash the race lap record around Thruxton which had been held by Yvan Muller since 2002.
Dropping from first to third in the drivers standings and with a gap of eleven points, Tom can be glad that the woes of the first race didn’t make that gap even larger.
Reflecting on his weekend. Tingram commented, “Unfortunately, we lost all the electrics very early in race one, including the power steering, which made it really hard work to hang on through the faster corners. We tried various fixes, but then the alternator gave up completely on lap five and I had to retire.
“I had some fun in race two coming through from the back. I couldn’t even see the lights from where I was starting – my engineer had to call them for me over the radio – but our goal was to get into the points and we did that without picking up any damage, which was a great result.
“We were really quick again in race three, but all chance of pushing for a podium if not better disappeared at the start.
“It would obviously have been nice to finish higher than seventh, but to come away with 14 championship points after the dramas of race one was a pretty decent job in damage limitation, and to beat a lap record that had stood for 16 years prior to the weekend and that had been set by such a touring car legend as Yvan Muller is a pretty cool achievement.”
With a relatively strong finish at Thruxton, Tom now looks forward to Oulton Park, “With overtaking so difficult at Oulton, your weekend there is very often conditioned by your qualifying performance, so more than ever, the key will be to secure a strong grid slot and then see what we can do.
“It’s going to be a long season with a lot of title contenders, and we’re very much in the fight.”