Katie Milner had a dream start to her Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 weekend at Thruxton, earning her first pole position in the championship.
She put her Merlin International car at the front by fifteen hundredths of a second, ahead of Gordie Mutch and David Ellesley.
Pole position in a Ginetta, especially at a fast and flowing circuit like Thruxton, can be a curse as much as a blessing. Although the polesitter has the advantage of a clear track, they also have to contend with their rivals behind them slipstreaming, effectively using the leader as a tow car.
Katie got away fine from pole but sadly, everything changed on the first lap, when a charging Ruben del Sarte and Geri Nicosia hustled through from fourth and seventh. The two of them locked out the front spots for the whole of the race until the final lap, trading the lead. To begin with, Katie kept within less that a second of the battling leaders, but she was unable to hang on and slipped down the order to seventh. Late on, she staged a fightback and reeled in sixth-placed Josh Hislop. By the time the chequered flag fell, she was pulling away from him and towards Josh Malin, who had also lost touch with the leading trio of Nicosia, del Sarte and Scott McKenna. She was five seconds behind winner Nicosia but lapping much more quickly than her finishing position suggested.
After the race, she admitted that she had been too cautious, as well as not having the advantage of slipstreaming from the beginning.
Race 2 should have panned out in a similar way but an incident intervened.
Katie had placed herself securely at the back of a six-car leading group after Malin spun, but Gus Bowers clipped her and spun her car round just before half-distance, leaving her to play catch-up again.
She had had a strong start from pole, leaving behind her earlier, measured approach, but was muscled out of the way by Malin and Adam Smalley. Nicosia also got through in a multiway scrum at Club.
Bowers recovered quickly from the coming-together but Katie was not so fortunate. She dropped down to fifteenth place but never gave up, making up three places in the final two laps to finish eleventh, two-thirds of a second from the top ten and Connor Grady. Her last lap was the second-fastest that time round and her quickest of the race.
“I’ve experienced every emotion this weekend, and it’s been a big learning curve. A huge thank you to the guests of Snap-On, Reis Motorsport Insurance and Nine Group for attending this weekend.”
Multiple Scottish champion David Bogie scored a record-equalling sixth RSAC Scottish Rally victory after a supreme battle with KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) rivals Euan Thorburn and Garry Pearson.
Bogie’s win put him level with Roger Clark with six event wins, and brought Thorburn’s sensational run of six rally victories from as many starts to an end.
However Thorburn znd Paul Beaton’s Ford Focus WRC was incredibly close behind Bogie and John Rowan’s Skoda Fabia R5, with just six seconds splitting the pair at the finish.
Held in the legendary Eskdalemuir forests, the third round of the SRC took the crews to Dumfries & Galloway for some of the UK’s most iconic stages including Twiglees, Castle O’er and Ae.
Bogie, back out in the SRC after retiring from the Speyside last month, led early on but Thorburn and Pearson were latched onto the back of him. Pearson and co-driver Dale Bowen had to push their Ford Fiesta R5 hard to catch the Focus WRC of Thorburn who was trailing Bogie by just six seconds after two speed tests.
Pearson broke Bogie’s duck and won Windy Hill as Thorburn trimmed Bogie’s advantage, but Thorburn’s work would be undone with a stall at a hairpin losing him seven seconds and his second place.
Bogie’s lead was up to eight seconds from Pearson at second service, but the Pearson would suffer a disappointing run through the penultimate stage, losing 12 seconds to a flying Thorburn.
Thorburn netted the stage win by five seconds to almost half Bogie’s cushion up front, but the local star wouldn’t be denied glory as he set an identical time through the final Castle O’er test to edge out Thorburn.
“It’s a great achievement, but I’m under no illusions that it’s a far shorter event than it was when Roger Clark got all those wins all those years ago,” said Bogie of his record-equalling victory.
“But nevertheless it’s my local rally, the one I wanted to win so it’s an achievement I’m very proud of.
“The stages were a real mixed bag from wet, dry and slippy and of course the added challenge of loose rocks as well but we’re very happy, it’s always good to spray the champagne in front of family and friends.”
“We’re frustrated a wee bit,” admitted second-placed Thorburn.
“We obviously dropped that time at the hairpin in Ae which was my fault, without that it probably would’ve been a different story. It is annoying [to lose 100% record] but we’ve won six on the bounce so we can’t complain.
“When everything is working fine we go well and we are competitive so I’m looking forward to the next one.”
Pearson wound up third in the end but only 20 seconds shy of the victory, showing a great up-turn in pace against such stiff competition,
“We were happy up until stage four when we fell away a little bit, but these guys seemed to have an extra gear when it got slippy this afternoon,” reflected Pearson.
“We just didn’t quite have the pace, but given what the guys have done this year and the experience they have in four-wheel-drive over the years we’ve got to be happy.
“The championship is still all to play for. We’ve got some good solid results. Undoubtedly Euan has three stronger scores than us, but we’ve got a lack of seat time so we need to try and come on stronger in the second half of the season.
“We don’t have the budget for more seat time so if we can improve ourselves physically, work on our notes and things like that, that’s where we’ll get the final few seconds.”
Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair finished a lonely fourth aboard their Subaru Impreza, with a front-right puncture on stage five not helping their pursuit of the battle for the podium.
The pair finished over a minute behind Pearson and Bowen, but equally had a minute in hand over the Ford Focus WRC of Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts.
John Wink and new co-driver Neil Shanks netted sixth in their Hyundai i20 R5 after a trying start, with Wink bedding himself into a new voice in his ears. The duo held just a three second advantage over a recovering Donnie Macdonald and Andrew Falconer, who confessed they weren’t at their best in their Ford Fiesta R5.
Snapping at the heels of Macdonald and Falconer were Scott MacBeth and Daniel Forsyth in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. The pair had started brightly, holding sixth overall in the morning before dropping back slightly in the afternoon.
Michael Binnie and Claire Mole salvaged ninth in their Evo IX after snapping a brake calliper and thus completing stage four with no brakes. Binnie was forced to complete the final two stages of the event with just three of the brakes working.
Keith Morris and Terry Mallin rounded out the top 10 after another impressive and solid run in their Mitsubishi Evo VI.
MacBeth and Forsyth bagged top honours in the Albyn Garage SRC Challengers series as well as eighth overall. Morris and Mallin took second ahead of the Subaru Impreza of Ian Baumgart and Sinclair Young.
The Scottish 2WD Championship crowned its third winner from as many rounds as Iain Wilson and Chris Williams stole the show in their Ford Escort Mk2. The pair beat Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross’ Escort by 28 seconds, with Keith Robathan and Steven Brown completing the podium in their BMW.
Jude MacDonald placed top Junior for the second round in succession in his Skoda Fabia R2, while Used Car Parts Subaru Cup honours were awarded to Max and Callum Redpath.
Up next for the SRC is a trip west to Argyll & Bute for the third running of the Argyll Rally on Saturday 22nd May.
Thorburn extends his championship lead and with Bogie unlikely to complete many more rounds, the challenge is on for his rivals to claw back as many points as possible in the second half of the season.
Provisional Championship Points:
Ford Focus WRC
Mitsubishi Evo IX
Mitsubishi Evo VI
The KNC Groundworks Ltd Scottish Rally Championship is supported by Royal Aero, Pirelli Motorsport, Moates Offshore Ltd, Albyn Garage Ltd, RAVENOL and Reis Motorsport Insurance.
Dan Cammish scored a brace of podium finishes, consolidating Honda’s lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship, as Halfords Yuasa Racing moved to the top of the Teams’ standings at the British Touring Car Championship’s first trip to Thruxton of 2019.
Cammish started the first race from the outside of the front row and after dropping one position off the start line to eventual race winner, Andrew Jordan, he held onto third and the final podium spot. In the second Honda Matt Neal gained one place from his grid position to finish seventh after a race-long duel with former champion Ashley Sutton.
It was same again for Cammish in race two, the Honda Civic Type R holding onto the leading duo for all 16 laps and completing the podium for the second time of the day. Neal, meanwhile, worked his way up the field to ensure both Hondas finished in the top five.
A threat of rain lingered over the final race, but never amounted to any more than light drizzle. Starting seventh and ninth on the reversed grid, both Neal and Cammish avoided a first lap crash, which helped them progress to fourth and sixth respectively. The pair of Civic Type Rs stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the race to complete a strong points haul for the team.
With six strong results from the meeting, Honda extended its lead in the Manufacturers’ standings to 15 points over BMW, and the Halfords Yuasa Racing jumped to the top of the Teams’ standings, again leading Team BMW. Both Neal and Cammish also now sit in the top ten of the Drivers’ Championship.
Matt Neal – Halfords Yuasa Racing driver and Team Dynamics Director
We were pipped to the podium at the end, but I’m taking the positives out of it. Between the two cars we’ve had six decent top ten finishes, and we scored good points in the Drivers’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships. It could have been better, but all in all it’s been a positive weekend. Of course we’d like to win, but it’s onward and upward. The BMWs and Subarus historically have been in a league of their own at Croft, which is the next round in four weeks, so we’re under no illusion. It’s nice to have a bit of a buffer, and then it’ll come back round to us again later in the season.
Dan Cammish – Halfords Yuasa Racing driver
It was a great weekend. I came here knowing we’d be strong and with the intention of coming out as the highest scorer of the weekend. It looks I missed out on that one by a single point to Andrew Jordan, but this is probably the strongest weekend I’ve had in the British Touring Car Championship – to come away with two thirds and a sixth, to score 41 points, it’s a mega day. I’m back into the top 10 in the championship and I’m fired up to move this forward. I cannot wait to come back here in August and get even higher on the podium.
BTCC Drivers’ Championship, after 9 rounds 1. Colin Turkington 102 points 1. Rory Butcher 102 points 3. Josh Cook 100 points 5. Matt Neal 85 points 8. Dan Cammish 66 points
BTCC Manufacturers’ Championship, after 9 rounds 1. Honda 235 points 2. BMW 220 points 3. Subaru 205 points
BTCC Teams’ Championship, after 9 rounds 1 Halfords Yuasa Racing 149 points 2. Team BMW 137 points 3. Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance 133 points
* all points provisional pending judicial decisions
Rounds 10-12 of the British Touring Car Championship will take place at Croft, North Yorkshire on Sunday 16th June.
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Bucks-born ace heading to Thruxton buoyed by Donington Park success
New Toyota Corolla featured well up the timesheets at ‘positive’ pre-event test
Hampshire circuit is fastest in country and pushes driver and car to the limit
Tom Ingram and Team Toyota GB with Ginsters are approaching the upcoming British Touring Car Championship race weekend at Thruxton (18/19 May) in confident mood, following a ‘positive and productive’ pre-event test and a hugely popular maiden win for the new Toyota Corolla at Donington Park last time out.
That breakthrough triumph – Ingram and Northwich, Cheshire-based Speedworks Motorsport’s tenth outright success in the UK’s premier motor racing series – could scarcely have been scripted any better. In front of some 4,500 members and families from Toyota Manufacturing UK – with Donington situated just down the road from the TMUK plant at Burnaston – the 25-year-old Bucks-born ace led from lights-to-flag as he effortlessly converted the reversed grid pole position into a commanding victory.
Allied to fifth and tenth-place finishes from earlier in the day, the result catapulted Ingram from tenth up to sixth in the Drivers’ title chase amongst the 30 high-calibre contenders, just 12 points shy of the summit of the standings. Team Toyota GB with Ginsters similarly gained ground to eighth in the Teams’ classification.
Reigning two-time BTCC Independents’ Champion Ingram boasts an excellent record at Thruxton – the high-speed Hampshire circuit was the scene of his first podium finish in car racing in 2009 and first win a year later, and he has three rostrum appearances to his name there in the BTCC. He lapped third-quickest in the morning session of the official TOCA test day at the track last month before the squad switched its focus to set-up work in the afternoon, leaving team and driver alike ‘quietly confident’ of another strong weekend.
All of the Thruxton race day action will be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4, starting at 11:15am on Sunday (19 May).
Christian Dick, Team Principal, Team Toyota GB with Ginsters, said:
“Winning at Donington did relieve the early-season pressure a little. We’ve always known we’ve got a quick car, we’ve always known Tom’s a first-class driver and we’ve always known we’ve got an excellent team here at Speedworks, but until you cross the finish line and take the chequered flag, the job’s not done. To secure the Corolla’s first victory on Toyota (GB)’s home turf in front of so many people from TMUK was the icing on the cake.
“We’re learning each time we take to the track with this car, and understanding it better with every day. Thruxton is a pretty unique challenge on the BTCC calendar, with a very different set of demands to any other circuit we visit, but the Corolla is phenomenal on the brakes, which will help going into the Complex and Chicane and it has a really nicely-balanced chassis, which is confidence-inspiring for Tom to drive – and the one thing you need above all else to be fast around Thruxton is confidence.
“The test last month was positive and productive, which gave us a good direction to pursue and I think we have a solid foundation now for the race weekend. Tom’s right up there in the championship hunt, and when you see how close the top seven drivers are on points, you appreciate how important consistency is in this series. It’s all about staying up at the sharp end and scoring in as many races as possible – and that’s precisely what we will aim to do.”
Tom Ingram, Driver, Team Toyota GB with Ginsters, said:
“Thruxton is a unique circuit – there’s nowhere else like it in the country. Going there for the test with a new car was a bit of a step into the unknown, but it went very well, which was encouraging. We were able to work through everything on our list – most of all, it was about trying to get a proper handle on the Corolla through the high-speed sections, which is the key to a good lap time there and I think we’re in a good place.
“With the BTCC going to Thruxton twice this year, it’s even more important to get to grips with everything quickly because there are double the points on offer, but we left feeling quietly confident and will return in the same mindset.
“Thruxton’s high-speed nature and succession of quick corners results in high tyre degradation, and the slower sections towards the start and end of the lap make it tricky to strike the optimum set-up, but there’s no question that it’s an incredible challenge from a driver’s perspective. You always tighten your belts a bit before you get to Noble, Goodwood and Church, which are three of the fastest corners in British motorsport. You’re properly hanging on through there – real edge-of-the-seat stuff.
“I’m feeling excited, and the target for the weekend has to be three good, solid points-scoring finishes. We’re close to the top of the table points-wise but not carrying too much ballast, which is a nice position to be in – we’ve learned over the past couple of seasons that leading the championship at this stage can make your life very difficult in qualifying and race one.
“We still have a lot of development to come with the Corolla, and as we have always said, we expect to be much stronger over the second half of the year. To win so early on was really a bonus, but we’re not getting carried away as we are well aware that there remains a big challenge ahead.”
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KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) championship leaders Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton are seeking their third consecutive win as the SRC heads to Moffat for the RSAC Scottish Rally on Saturday 18th May.
Thorburn has been the class of the field in 2019 after trading in his Ford Fiesta R5 for the mighty Ford Focus WRC. Scooping up victories on both the Border Counties Rally and the Speyside Stages, the 2014 and 2017 Scottish champion is looking incredibly tough to beat as the SRC heads for some of the most iconic stages in Scotland.
Tests such as Twiglees, Castle O’er and Ae are renowned not just in Scotland and Britain but indeed across the world, meaning that whoever emerges victorious on the stages around Moffat will have conquered one of the toughest and most prestigious challenges in national rallying.
Thanks to his searing form in 2019, Thorburn is the obvious favourite for victory after also winning the opening four rounds of the BTRDA series. This means the Duns driver has scored a win ratio of 100% in 2019, but curiously he will begin Saturday’s stages as the number two seed.
Returning to the SRC after a disappointing outing on the Speyside Stages is five-time champion David Bogie and co-driver John Rowan. The Skoda Fabia R5 pilot enjoyed a titanic battle with Thorburn before a broken steering rack curtailed his rally last month, and the home hero is expected to be on form as he hunts down a record-equalling sixth Scottish Rally win.
Following a subdued opening round in Jedburgh, double Scottish champion Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair bounced back in Elgin with second overall in their Subaru Impreza. Seeded at three, the pair will be hoping for at least a podium as they look to hunt down Thorburn in the title race.
Garry Pearson and Dale Bowen had a Speyside Stages to forget; rolling their Ford Fiesta R5 onto its side and retiring in order to preserve the car. Pearson is hungry for a maiden Scottish title, so is therefore in need of a strong showing this weekend to get his season back on track.
Donnie Macdonald and Andrew Falconer have endured a frustrating start to their 2019 season, failing to score championship points in either of the opening two rounds. The Ford Fiesta R5+ duo will be wanting to put that right on the classic forest tests in Dumfries & Galloway.
Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts bagged their first finish of the season last month as they continue to adjust to life in a Ford Focus WRC. They line up sixth, ahead of Freddie Milne and Patrick Walsh who have traded in their Mitsubishi Evo VII for a Ford Fiesta R5. After claiming two third places already this season, Milne’s performance in an R5 is destined to be one of the major-talking points this weekend.
Michael Binnie has enjoyed a fantastic start to his 2019 season, notching up two fourth place finishes in his Mitsubishi Evo IX. He and navigator Claire Mole start as eighth seed, ahead of the Hyundai i20 R5 of John Wink and Neil Shanks.
Ian Bainbridge and Mark Fisher complete the top 10 seeds, back in the SRC after missing the Speyside Stages due to teething issues with their Subaru Impreza.
The Scottish 2WD Championship has a fresh look to it in 2019, with Paddy Munro and Duncan MacDonald sharing the spoils so far this season.
However it is local driver Iain Wilson and co-driver Chris Williams that top the entry, frustrated after retiring from the Speyside with clutch failure in their Ford Escort Mk2.
MacDonald and Munro are both set to challenge, with Paul McErlean another man renowned for being a thorn in the leaders’ side in another Mk2 Escort. Keith Robathan and Mark McCulloch took their BMWs to second and third on the Speyside, and both return to action this weekend.
The battle in the Albyn Garage SRC Challengers has been typically hot in 2019, with three Mitsubishi Evo IX’s heading the mix.
Scott Macbeth, Thomas Gray and Alan Dickson have been closely matched over the opening two rounds of the series in their Mitsubishi Evo IX’s, while Impreza interloper Bainbridge is expected to muscle his way into contention in his Subaru.
Jude MacDonald is the top Junior seed in his Skoda Fabia R2 after a superb Speyside drive that netted him the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award. Max Redpath starts as favourite in the Used Car Parts Subaru Cup, but has championship associate sponsor Mike Moates close in arrears.
The RSAC Scottish Rally sees the two-wheel-drive cars run ahead of their four-wheel-drive counterparts, and consists of six special stages totalling around 40 competitive stage miles. It all gets underway in Moffat from 9am before the leaders return to the town at 4pm.
The KNC Groundworks Ltd Scottish Rally Championship is supported by Royal Aero, Pirelli Motorsport, Moates Offshore Ltd, Albyn Garage Ltd, RAVENOL and Reis Motorsport Insurance.
Series Elite looks ahead to the first major stepping stone since the launch of its new racing initiative for the over 50’s at Stratstone Jaguar, in Mayfair, London.
Rockingham will play host to a ‘race licence event’ that will give prospective competitors the opportunity to gain their racing licence and upgrade to a National ‘A’ licence at an exclusive behind-closed-doors meeting.
Taking place 24th – 26th September, there will be a variety of benefits that future racers can expect, including on-track tuition, BARC Membership, a five-race schedule including qualifying, an opportunity to test the new Jaguar F-Type GT4, sports psychology, nutrition and fitness seminars, plus full hospitality and accommodation for the duration.
Limited to just 12 people, the event will provide a unique opportunity to gain a National ‘B’ and upgrade to the National ‘A’ licence in a short space of time. The Series Elite team will be on hand to guide racers through all of the necessary processes, and ensure everyone comes away well prepared and ready for this brand new motor racing concept.
Drivers will take part in a data and technical session with Jaguar, and a race craft seminar, to prepare them for the forthcoming Series Elite Championship.
Series Director, Graeme Glew, commented, “It’s going to be a wonderful chance for any prospective Series Elite racer to get their National ‘A’ licence in such a short timescale, while enjoying the hospitality we can offer, and get a glimpse into the ‘racing life’ they can expect to experience once the Series launches in 2019.”
The Series Elite F-Type has already visited Rockingham briefly, when the car spent the day at the Northamptonshire track producing the exciting promotion video you can view here: https://vimeo.com/268087234.
A fourth successive win in the BTRDA Rally Series – DMACK Fiesta ST Trophy this weekend brings the hotly contested single make championship title within the grasp of Bingley rally star Sam Bilham.
With victory at the DMACK Carlisle Stages on Saturday (10th June), the 2300 Club John Easson Award winner and co-driver Cameron Fair are just one podium result away from taking the Fiesta honours, despite three rounds of the series yet to run.
In his second season behind the wheel of the Fiesta ST, Bilham led the championship for much of last year, only losing out on the closing events of the championship to take runner up spot in the series. But this time around he has been on top on all four rounds so far, meaning he heads to next month’s Nicky Grist Stages as firm favourite for the win.
Based in Kershope and East Kielder forests, The Carlisle Stages runs across notorious stages in the Scottish Borders and is renowned for catching out even the most experienced of drivers. But Bilham endured an eventful lead up to the weekend which threatened his title assault.
A delay in parts for the transmission forced Bilham to work through the week to ensure the Calvert Construction and Reis Motorsport Insurance backed Fiesta would be ready for the event and he would start the rally with a plan to nett a solid points haul.
Look at the time sheets however and they tell a different story. Despite pre-event aspirations on perhaps a podium spot, he commanded a start to finish victory in the treacherous conditions. Taking the lead from the opening stage, he brought the Fiesta home with fastest time on every one of the five stages, making it back in 19th overall.
Sam is supported by 2300 Club John Easson Award, Calvert Construction, Reis Motorsport Insurance, The Garage at Stanley Mills, Northern Life Magazine and Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services.
Motorsport insurance intermediary, Reis Motorsport Insurance is extending its keen association with racing by supporting Max Bartell in the 2017 Historic Sports Car Championship (HSCC).
Max alongside partner, Ben Mitchell will be competing in the Historic Formula Ford Championship and The Guards Trophy and Max will also be driving in the Classic F3 Championship.
Max, who has been racing for over five years, has previously won the Classic F3 Championship and been runner up in the Historic Formula Ford Championship so will be looking to draw and build on his experience this year.
Mark Taylor, Operations Manager for Reis Motorsport Insurance, comments: “We sponsor a number of drivers in a range of competitions including Tom Ingram in the British Touring Car Championship, so are delighted to welcome Max into the Reis racing family. Max is enthusiastic, skilled and passionate and we’ll be supporting him ‘every turn of the track’ and wish him all the best in his quest for podium position.”
Max Bartell comments: “I’m thrilled to have the backing of Reis Motorsport Insurance, a name that’s trusted and recognised in the motorsport community. I’m aiming high this year and will be pushing for podium finishes every time I take to the track. I’m looking forward to seeing what the season holds as well as celebrating the Historic Formula Ford Championship’s 50th anniversary!”
Reis Motorsport Insurance is a dedicated motorsport insurance intermediary, involved in creating bespoke schemes and arranging tailor-made policies to suit individual circumstances.
Tom Ingram saw his title aspirations take another – very literal – knock at the hands of an over-aggressive rival at Croft last weekend (10/11 June), but the Speedworks Motorsport star has promised to come back all guns blazing when the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returns from its summer break.
Following a torrid time of things at Oulton Park, early-season championship leader Ingram headed further north to Croft intent on clawing back ground in the chase for the most coveted crown in British Motorsport. Unfortunately, a minor error in treacherous conditions towards the end of the first free practice session resulted in significant front end damage to the #80 Toyota Avensis, ruling the 23-year-old out of FP2 as the Speedworks mechanics effected repairs.
That left Ingram short on track time going into qualifying, but he was nonetheless on a lap that looked good enough to put him on the front row of the starting grid when the red flags flew less than ten minutes in for a serious accident involving no fewer than 12 cars, which he carefully managed to avoid.
With no break in the weather and the need to carry out extensive barrier work, the running did not resume, meaning the talented young Bucks ace would line up an unrepresentative 13th amongst the 29 high-calibre contenders for the first race the following day.
Under sunnier skies and in front of the live ITV4 television cameras in what is commonly regarded as the world’s premier and most fiercely-disputed tin-top series, Ingram immediately set about moving forward, gaining two spots on the opening tour and cracking the top ten next time around. Settling into a multi-car scrap over fifth, a mature drive saw him take the chequered flag eighth – and second-highest Independent entry – to secure a solid clutch of points towards his title bid.
With less success ballast on-board for race two, the three-time Ginetta Champion and former British Karting Champion was in confident mood. He made a bright start to advance to seventh, only to then find himself speared into by the MG of Josh Cook later around the first lap, breaking the Toyota’s suspension and consigning him to the rear of the grid for the day’s finale. From there, Ingram gritted his teeth and lapped amongst the quickest drivers on the track en route to a 16th-place finish – just one spot shy of the points.
His misfortune means the KX Akademy graduate and MSA Academy member enters the mid-season hiatus having slipped to fifth in the overall standings – 48 points shy of the top of the table – albeit still leading the way in the Independents’ Trophy. Speedworks sits second in the Independent Teams’ classification and fourth in the outright Teams’ rankings – with all eyes firmly fixed on an immediate fightback at Snetterton at the end of next month.
Reis Motorsport Insurance support Tom Ingram as he once again wins to jump to top of the BTCC table.
Tom Ingram has leapfrogged into the lead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after a superb weekend at Donington Park (15/16 April), as he and Speedworks Motorsport secured their second victory of 2017 in emphatic fashion with a commanding performance.
Ingram headed to Donington – where he had set the benchmark pace in the only official pre-season test a month earlier – carrying 66kg of success ballast aboard his Toyota Avensis following his curtain-raising triumph at Brands Hatch. That, however, did not hold him back in free practice as the talented young Bucks ace lapped comfortably inside the top four in both sessions amongst the 32 high-calibre contenders – some of the finest touring car protagonists on the planet.
He maintained that impressive form in qualifying to line up an excellent third on the starting grid for race one, driving on the absolute ragged edge of adhesion and underscoring just how much he was pushing with a wild trip across the gravel.
As one of only two drivers in the field on the harder-compound Dunlop rubber in the opener, Ingram stormed into the lead as the lights went out and artfully controlled a cold tyre slide through the Craner Curves to sprint almost a second clear by the end of the first lap.
Ultimately, the extra weight was always going to tell as the race progressed, and after grittily remaining in charge for the first four tours, the three-time Ginetta Champion and former British Karting Champion inevitably found himself forced to yield to several lighter rivals. He subsequently produced a defensive masterclass to heroically stave off intense pressure from reigning champion Gordon Shedden, Adam Morgan and Rob Collard to snare fifth at the chequered flag.
With 27kg removed from his Avensis for race two in the immensely popular, ITV4 live-televised BTCC – commonly regarded as the world’s premier and most fiercely-disputed tin-top series – Ingram made short work of scything his way past Matt Neal, Rob Austin, Colin Turkington and Collard before relieving Aiden Moffat of the top spot with a perfectly-judged move down the Craner Curves on lap four. Immediately scampering clear, the 23-year-old stretched his advantage to almost four seconds at the flag as his success made him the BTCC’s first multiple winner of the season and vaulted him to the summit of the Drivers’ standings.
The heavens then opened ahead of the day’s finale, severely reducing grip levels and sending countless cars – the #80 Toyota amongst them – aquaplaning off-track left, right and centre. The red flags unsurprisingly flew, prompting a re-start once the rain had abated. Despite grappling with maximum ballast, Ingram maturely mastered the spray and low setting sun to tally another top five finish from eighth on the grid, barely a second adrift of the rostrum.
That means the KX Akademy graduate and MSA Academy member will next travel to Thruxton – scene of his maiden car racing podium and win and a second career BTCC pole position last year – 14 points ahead of his closest adversary in the chase for the coveted crown and similarly atop the Independents’ Trophy classification.