European rally champion Ingram secures WRC chance

Chris Ingram says the chance to compete in the second tier of the World Rally Championship “means the world” to him, with the Mancunian vowing he will “give it everything”.

European rally champion Ingram secures WRC chance

With help from new and existing sponsors, Ingram and long-term co-driver Ross Whittock kick-off their WRC3 series programme at this month’s Rally Croatia in a Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo - the first of six confirmed events for 2021.

Ingram is familiar to the Czech supermini as it carried him to the FIA European Rally Championship title at Rally Hungary back in 2019 to become the first Brit to win it since Vic Elford 52 years earlier.

Since then, Ingram and Whittock have only made one appearance, with that coming at Rally Isla Canarias last November. Competing in Renault’s all-new Rally 5 Clio, they finished third in class.

However, competing in the World Rally Championship has always been Ingram’s goal and he came close to announcing a drive last year only for his plans to unravel at the eleventh hour due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There have been some really tough moments to get this far but it feels so special to be able to say that I am a World Rally Championship driver,” said the 26-year-old.

“I have given everything I have to get this opportunity – and I have so many people to thank and so much to be grateful for.

“Winning the European Rally Championship title in 2019 opened up lots of doors and I was close to landing a really good drive in 2020.

“The pandemic slammed all those doors shut but I never gave up and never stopped believing my dream would come true. I’m lucky to have this chance.”

Chris Ingram, Ross Whittock, Skoda

Chris Ingram, Ross Whittock, Skoda

Photo by: Skoda Motorsport

With Ingram being new to many of the World Rally Championship events, he says the priority for him and Whittock will be to learn the events throughout this season before aiming for silverware finishes in WRC2 come 2022.

“It’s a two-year programme and I can’t lose sight of that fact,” said Ingram, whose programme will be overseen by Adam Shore and run under the Rally Warrior banner.

“It’s been almost 18 months since I last drove a top-level rally car, so I have got to build up my confidence, learn the events and adapt to the championship because it’s the biggest thing I have ever done.

"The World rally rounds are another level. I’m going to give it everything, experience is vital. Experience is so important in the World Rally Championship, which is so tough and competitive. And you only get experience by getting to the finish of each event you start.

“So, in year one, the objective is to keep a calm head, not do anything stupid, learn as much as possible and complete as many kilometres as possible.

“Points and podiums on top of all that would be a massive bonus, but there’s no pressure on me to do that. The only pressure is to get myself in a position where I can go for top results in year two.”

shares
comments

Related video

Tanak: Hyundai's full WRC potential will be on show at Rally Croatia
Previous article

Tanak: Hyundai's full WRC potential will be on show at Rally Croatia

Next article

Rally Sweden moves north for 2022 WRC round

Rally Sweden moves north for 2022 WRC round
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Plus

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport

WRC
Jun 29, 2022
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Plus

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Plus

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Plus

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Plus

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Autosport donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the trials and tribulations of a rally mechanic

WRC
Apr 17, 2022