Chris Ingram and his co-driver Craig Drew continue to go from strength-to-strength in their debut WRC2 season.
With their Skoda sponsored by CarFinance 247, Chris and Craig claimed their second Junior victory as well as their fourth podium place in a row when they took on the Ypres Rally Belgium.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but the duo kicked off the race well, putting in an incredible performance in Stage 1 Vleteren. Their strong start put them in first place, 7.6 seconds ahead of their closest rival. However, the weather soon turned and the drizzly conditions on Stage 2 sent the team’s hard-compound Pirelli tyres into a spin.
The challenges brought by the wet weather were compounded by the event’s controversial seeding, which saw Chris and Craig begin each stage 12 cars – or 24 minutes – behind the tournament leader Andreas Mikkelsen. This delay meant that they were forced to drive on rain-soaked roads that earlier competitors had been able to avoid. Even so, they were still able to end the day with a top three time in the WRC2 after a brave run through the slippery Stage 8 Langemark.
A winning focus
The remainder of the event was dedicated to regaining the Junior lead; an ambition that reflects Chris and Craig’s determination and resilience.
The pair kicked off the opening stage of day three by making a clever tyre choice. Selecting two soft tyres and two hard tyres in ‘cross’ position allowed them to have both grip and stability on the track and led to them taking the lead from Gregoire Munster by a tenth of a second.
That lead increased throughout the day and the team took it home in the final stage – the iconic Kemmelberg. They ended the race ranked 9th overall in WRC1, 4th in WRC2, 1st in the Junior competition and 1st Privateer. Chris and Craig’s WRC2 victory is the duo’s second this season – after just five rounds – and they took victory by 8.1 seconds.
“I’m very proud of this result and the pace shown throughout the rally,” said Chris. “This was definitely one of the best drives of my career. I feel I’m getting quicker and quicker, which is extremely exciting for the future.”
The team’s time in Belgium was made especially meaningful as Chris and Craig were invited to serve as honorary members of the Ypres last Post association and participate in the Last Post memorial at Menin Gate. The service remembers the fallen allied forces from World War One and Chris was honoured to be asked to read the exhortation prior to the minute silence as well as laying a memorial wreath.