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.