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
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

WRC
Jul 18, 2022