In­gram takes much needed vic­tory to set-up win or bust ju­nior ti­tle show­down

Motor Sport News - - Erc: Barum Rally -

Chris In­gram claimed a vi­tal first ERC Ju­nior win of the sea­son in the Czech Repub­lic, lead­ing from start to fin­ish on the penul­ti­mate round of the se­ries.

The 22-year-old from Manch­ester came into the event with an 11-point ad­van­tage over works Opel team­mate Mar­i­jan Griebel, but dropped scores meant it was ac­tu­ally Ger­many’s Griebel who could se­cure the ti­tle with a Zlin win. Fur­ther­more, In­gram had come off the back of a first-stage crash on the non-erc Ral­lye Deutsch­land a week ear­lier, when Griebel had won the class.

In­gram how­ever fired a sig­nal of in­tent when he was five sec­onds faster than any­one else on the streets of Zlin on Fri­day night, and two fastest times on Satur­day morn­ing stretched his lead over Griebel to 16 sec­onds. Griebel struck back on the next stage but then broke his steer­ing in a big cut on stage five, forc­ing him to re­tire on the fol­low­ing test.

Come Satur­day night, In­gram had opened up a lead of 47 sec­onds, leav­ing him able to cruise to a 23s vic­tory over Cir­cuit of Ire­land win­ner Lukasz Pieni­azek.

“We put a lot of work in for this event, the team has worked re­ally hard,” said In­gram, who was in his sec­ond ERC event with new co-driver El­liott Ed­mond­son. “Yes­ter­day I pushed re­ally hard, to­day I drove a lit­tle bit like my gran!”

Griebel restarted on Sun­day and set five fastest times to top the leg and claim fifth place. Although In­gram has now scored 31 points more than Griebel this sea­son, the dropped scores rul­ing means it will be win­ner­takes-all in Latvia next month.

Pri­va­teer Opel driver Pieni­azek en­joyed his first clean run across his par­al­lel Euro­pean and World cham­pi­onship cam­paigns since his ERC Ju­nior win in North­ern Ire­land at the Cir­cuit of Ire­land in April, and beat his works coun­ter­parts to two fastest times. The third fac­tory Opel of Julius Tan­nert dropped out on the open­ing day with low oil pres­sure, which en­abled Niko­lay Gryazin to come home third in his Peu­geot, four min­utes back af­ter an off into a ditch on Sun­day morn­ing.

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