Stockport Express

Ingram comes good at Croft

- MOTOR SPORT MIKE PETCH

TOM Ingram finished the first half of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championsh­ip season with his second best points haul of the season with two eighth place finishes and a seventh at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.

The Hughes Safety Showers backed Toyota Avensis, run by Speedworks Motorsport, led from the front as Ingram went fastest of all in Free Practice 1. He then re-affirmed his pace by taking second fastest in Free Practice 2, narrowly behind the BMW of Sam Tordoff – at a track much more suited to the rearwheel drive car.

Ingram was left a little disappoint­ed with Qualifying as traffic on his flying laps left him down in 13th place of the 30 cars on the BTCC grid – though there was less than a second between Tom and the pole position time of Tordoff.

“Qualifying aside, with Tom’s problems in traffic, we’re very positive leaving Croft” said team principal Christian Dick.

“Looking through the data, Tom’s times [during Free Practice] were capable of putting him sixth on the grid.”

It was a blustery and mainly sunny Croft that welcomed the BTCC drivers on track following a busy autograph session for Tom and the team.

Ingram started well, quickly gaining a place from Jason Plato [ VW] who had opted to sacrifice Race 1 to gain a good Qualifying lap for Race 2 on new tyres.

Demoting the Honda of Martin Depper a few laps later, Ingram went on to pass Adam Morgan [Merc], Rob Austin [Audi] and the MG of Jack Goff, finishing just two-tenths of a second off the VW CC of current BTCC Champion Colin Turkington.

Race 2 was a little uneventful following the excitement of the first race, with Ingram finishing exactly where he started, eighth on the grid.

Ingram started Race 3 brightly, climbing a place to seventh on the opening lap, but was demoted five laps later by the Works’ Honda Civic of Matt Neal. A favour that Tom returned six laps later, passing Neal to finish the final race of the day in seventh place overall.

Buoyed by the results, Dick said: “Everybody within the team is made up with the weekend.

“Although we’ve had better results individual­ly, three solid positions like that is a very positive way to finish the first half of the season. We’re very much looking forward to the second half of the season.

“In terms of results, that’s got to be the minimum we’re looking for now,” added Dick. “There’s no reason why we can’t unlock some more pace in the car between now and the next round, we’re very positive and excited.”.

Tom remains 12th in the overall Championsh­ip, but despite a good points haul drops a place in the Independen­ts Championsh­ip to fifth, just six points behind the VW CC of Aron Smith.

Elsewhere, there were wins for the BMW’s of Andy Priaulx, Sam Tordoff and Rob Collard.

The Honda of Gordon Shedden now leads the Series with the next round at Snetterton in Norfolk on the 9th August.

 ?? Mike Petch ?? Tom Ingram on his way to a seventh placed finish at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire
Mike Petch Tom Ingram on his way to a seventh placed finish at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire

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