Defending FIA European Rally Champion Chris Ingram believes that a 2020 WRC2 campaign will help him “find an opportunity on the world stage”.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag at the 2020 Autosport International Show, Ingram was adamant that WRC2 is the best place for him this season and that he’s hoping to compete in an eight-round calendar with Toksport – the team who helped him clinch the 2019 ERC title and become the first British winner of the series since 1967.
He said on his plans for this year: “WRC2 is the only way to go in 2020 for sure. We need to show our pace on some of the world championship events and find an opportunity on the world stage so that’s definitely the way to go for us. We do need to find the money for WRC2, but we want to do eight rounds with TokSport and we’re searching for sponsors all the time to help do it.”
“With the WRC2 plan, we’re looking at trying to be at events all over the place. I’ve done Turkey, Germany and Great Britain before, but I’d like to do as many as the oversees ones as we can because it would be a more level playing field there compared to places like Sweden or Finland where we’d be up against people who’ve been there several times before.”
“If we were there for the first time, it would be really difficult to compete with them, almost impossible to be honest! So we need to choose the events we do carefully this year.”
He continued on his hopes for the upcoming season: “The aim is always to win but we’d be in our first year, so we need to learn the events that we do and then in our second year we’d still be looking to win but we’d have a lot more experience by then. “
“This year’s there’s no pressure on me to win but obviously we’re pushing to be at the front and show everyone exactly what we can do. We need to show our pace, but we need to keep our consistent reputation at the same time.”
“I think we’ve built up a reputation that I don’t go and crash cars and that we finish on the podium every rally and I think it’s a very good reputation to have. We need to show we have some proper pace and if we can take away the stress of finding sponsors all the time hopefully we’ll be able to show my full potential.”
On top of his planned 2020 WRC2 schedule, Ingram was also asked about any other potential events in the upcoming season and he admitted: “Potentially we have some other events lined up to help us prepare for the WRC campaign – we’re thinking about some of the early in the year ERC rounds to help us, but because the budget is so high in WRC2, the money we have has to go to that as the priority.”
“It would be nice to come back and do some UK stuff. Believe it or not I’ve got more experience on events abroad than in the UK because of doing the ERC Junior series early in my career.”
“I only did a year and a bit of the British championship and it has changed a lot since I was last in it. I’ve done Rally GB five times and won my class three times though, so I’ve got a lot of experience there but not much anywhere else in the UK. “
“I’m so pleased with what we achieved in 2019, but we haven’t had much time to enjoy it because we’ve been working so hard on this year from pretty much as soon as we won the title! To go to the FIA awards and get a well done from Lewis Hamilton was amazing and an incredible feeling!”
Ingram won the 2019 European title in dramatic fashion on Rally Hungary with a fourth-place finish, despite suffering two punctures on the final day of the event.