Tom Ingram levels with legend Jim Clark following eighth victory

by Stuart Richards

With Tom Ingram sending his Speedworks Motorsport prepared Toyota Avensis to victory in the second race of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park, he set himself up to become one of the drivers to beat in 2018. He also equals the amount of victories scored in the series with Scottish motorsport legend Jim Clark.

Starting from sixteenth on the grid following a qualifying session hampered by ballast and tricky conditions, the Buckinghamshire driver struggled to get his car further foward on the grid for race one.

Starting the first race on the harder Dunlop tyre, Speedworks and Ingram decided to run with the least favourable tyre early so that they can get the session with that compound over and done with. Despite overtaking a few drivers, Tom had to drive defensively at the end of the race to ultimately finish in fourteenth position.

Race two was where he flourished, with weight removed and faster tyres Tom drove a masterful race where he passed drivers like reigning champion Ashley Sutton as if they were standing still. After the opening lap he had jumped to ninth and he had only just started.

Rob Collard and James Cole were next as they battled for fifth position. However, they didn’t count on a charging Ingram taking both of their positions with a superb move on the inside of Redgate on lap three of the contest.

Catching up to Aiden Moffat, the Toyota man passed the Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz through the Craner Curves before doing so again at the same part of the track to race one winner Josh Cook of Power Maxed TAG Racing.

Up ahead a squabbling Honda duo of Chris Smiley in second and leader Dan Cammish had gained the attention of Tom and he had to try and find a way to head the field.

As Smiley made his way past Cammish, Tom took his chance and followed the BTC Norlin Racing Civic past the Halford Yuasa Racing rookie. Smiley had no fight to Ingram as the Toyota streaked past into the lead, although Chris moved to put Tom onto the grass, the positions were not going to be changed again and Tom inched away from the Norlin driver as the laps counted down towards victory.

Ballast was back onboard the Avensis for the final race of the day and Tom drove the best he could considering the weight change to cross the line in eighth to keep him on top of the overall and independent drivers championships leaving Donington Park.

“Another very positive weekend.” Tom Ingram reflected.

“and one over the course of which we learnt a lot. We genuinely struggled on Saturday, although I’m pretty confident in saying that at least seven tenths of our nine-tenth deficit to pole was due to the weight.”

Summarising his race two victory. Tom said,  “Race two was very similar to the one we won at Brands Hatch.

“We knew we had the pace with the weight taken out and it was great fun scything through. The Avensis was so hooked-up – simply incredible to drive. I fully expected Chris [Smiley] to be a tough nut to crack but I could see I was stronger in a couple of areas and once I got a little bit of an overlap, I didn’t need asking twice!”

And when finding out about tying in victories with Jim Clark. The driver from High Wycombe said, “It’s pretty cool to have now won the same number of BTCC races as Jim Clark, who is an absolute legend of the sport.

While I couldn’t ever dream of going on to achieve the same kind of results as he did in his career, it’s still a nice statistic to have and gives me even more motivation to carry on winning and hopefully emulate another of his accomplishments in ultimately taking the series title.”

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