2019 European Rally Champion Chris Ingram has secured funding to allow for a two-year programme beginning later this month at the Croatia Rally, round three of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship.
The twenty-six-year-old will take part in six rounds of this year WRC3 championship in a Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo prepared by Belgium squad SXM Competition, before stepping up into WRC2 next season.
Joined by regular co-driver Ross Whittock for the campaign, Ingram has faced funding battles through out his career, with his European championship winning season only possible thanks to a CrowdFunding drive. However this deal allows to the Briton to gain valuable experience of the WRC stages without the worry of needing to secure a big result, after an extended period away from driving since lifting the ERC title back in November 2019.
Speaking to WRC.com he said, “Experience is so important in the WRC, which is so tough and competitive, you only get experience by getting to the finish of each event you start. So, in year one, the objective is to keep a calm head, not do anything stupid, learn as much as possible and complete as many kilometres as possible.
“Points and podiums on top of all that would be a massive bonus, but there’s no pressure on me to do that. The only pressure is to get myself in a position where I can go for top results in year two.”
Ingram is more than aware that it may take sometime for him to settle after eighteen months away but is under no illusion.
“It’s been almost 18 months since I last drove a top level rally car so I’ve got to build up my confidence, learn the events and adapt to the championship because it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done. The world rally rounds are another level. I’m going to give it everything. All the events I’m planning to do will be new for me, it’s a new team and I’m up against the best drivers in the world.
“I know it’s not going to be easy but I’ve never had it easy in my career. I’m looking forward to facing all of the challenges head on as always.”
Ingram has also been open about his own personal mental health issues and hopes that by speaking out it can encourage other men to do the same and seek the help they may need.
“I achieved a dream when I became European champion. However, competing against some of the fastest rally drivers on some of Europe’s most dangerous roads wasn’t the challenging part. I was struggling, fighting and overcoming a much harder battle with my own mental health.
“I hope that by being open about my challenges it will help other men to get talking. I have struggled with hard times in my personal life. I became very depressed when everything hit me all at once, financial pressures, relationships, family illnesses and the thought I couldn’t continue my career.”
Chris and Ross will compete under the Rally Warrior banner, with increased support from longterm backer Car Finance 24/7. Further backing has been secured from Protec, Kroon-Oil, Fleetback, WS Transportation, HAH Whisky, Stilo Helmets and race-wear partner FreeM.