Rockingham holds special memories for Tom Ingram as it was the circuit where he scored his maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium in 2015.
That moment must seem a world away from the Speedworks Motorsport driver as he aims for overall honours at the end of this 2018 season.
Qualifying at the Northamptonshire circuit on Saturday saw Tom having to set his times with maximum ballast as the leader of the championship at the time. Thirteenth was where the Toyota Avensis eventually qualified just one position behind title rival Colin Turkington.
Race one disappointment continued for the second weekend in a row as a throttle issue slowed the Avensis on the final lap as he was running just ahead of Turkington. Tom will be hoping that reliability doesn’t have too much more of an influence on the rest of the championship.
In another race two repeat from last time out, the Speedworks crew worked tirelessly to repair the issue and send Tom out for a start on twenty-seventh on the grid.
Jumping to sixteenth on the opening lap before managing to work past drivers such as Turkington and the surprise Mike Bushell in fourth over the race, Tom began to hunt down Senna Proctor in third. With two laps remaining, the Toyota passed the Vauxhall Astra and finished another fantastic recovery drive from the back.
With 57kg of ballast and the least favourable tyre in the final race, Tom drove competently to a fifth place finish and another strong haul of points highlighting why Tom is one of the title favourites.
Tom leaves Rockingham second in the overall championship as retirement in the first race allowed Colin Turkington to jump him. However, his two drives in the last two races means he is only four points behind the Team BMW man.
Tom was left aghast at another topsy-turvy weekend,
“Well, that was another rollercoaster ride of a weekend!
“We worked hard during practice to establish a good set-up in both dry and wet conditions, as we knew the forecast for Sunday was mixed.
“The ballast inevitably counted against us in qualifying, but to line up just one place behind Colin and well ahead of many of our other major rivals was a solid outcome, and we were on-course to bag a decent points haul in race one until the throttle issue intervened. Having kept out of trouble throughout and done everything right, to be denied a finish so close to the end was particularly cruel.
“Race two, by contrast, was incredible – really, really cool and so much fun. Starting 27th, we were aware we would have to throw caution to the wind a bit to avoid conceding even more ground, and we had showed at Snetterton that we can come through from the back of the pack – although I honestly never expected to achieve the same result again.
“That proves just how good a car the Avensis is and what an awesome effort the Speedworks boys are putting in weekend-in, weekend-out.”