ERC champion* Ingram looks back rally by rally

2019-12-07T12:44:29+01:00December 2nd, 2019|2019|

With the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship* in the bag, Toksport WRT’s Chris Ingram looks back on his title-winning season rally by rally alongside co-driver Ross Whittock.

Azores Rallye, third (21 points): “The Azores is probably one of the best rallies in the world with some of the most incredible stages and scenery, especially the Sete Cidades volcano stage. But we had a spin and some problems so we slipped down the order. To get the podium in the end was good for the championship even though the performance was average.”

Rally Islas Canarias, second (29 points): “I really enjoy the incredible scenery and fast Tarmac stages of Gran Canaria and we’ve had good results there in the past. I started very slowly, we were 16th on the Qualifying Stage and ninth on the first stage, but we improved all the rally and ended up setting some fastest stage times and finished second overall so that was a good performance.”

Rally Liepāja, fourth (20 points): “I wasn’t driving well at all, putting too much pressure on myself. The local guys and Alexey Lukyanuk are probably faster than me. It was difficult, we improved throughout the rally but we only came fourth.”

PZM 76th Rally Poland, DNF, withdrew (0 points): “We had a disaster of a rally. We had a puncture, lost powersteering, then sand filled up in the radiator. As I was trying to fix the car, I burnt my hand really badly and we had to retire. That was the lowest point of the season.”

Rally di Roma Capitale, sixth (12 points): “Rome was probably my worst drive, I just wasn’t able to drive like me, I was putting too much pressure on myself and I was a bit distracted by other things.”

Barum Czech Rally Zlín, third (26 points): “We went to Barum on the back foot and everyone said Filip Mareš is going to win the ERC1 Junior title, you’ve got no chance. He’s the local hero, they said, and all the locals want him to win and his team is from down the road. But I knew that we had a chance if I did my best performance. So, I relaxed as much as possible and my natural speed came back and we had an amazing fight with him. Unfortunately, we lost the title by 0.3s but I didn’t feel like it was such a big loss even though it obviously was because it was also 100,000 euros. But, personally, I gained a lot and I knew as we moved into the overall championship lead by one point, I’d turned a corner and got myself back on track. I knew that we could push for the overall title. It was an event with massive mixed emotions.”

Cyprus Rally, second (27 points): “The final rounds in Cyprus and Hungary were the crucial ones obviously. We played them so tactically and that worked so well. We were just very careful in Cyprus, we knew it was going to be one of the toughest and roughest events in our careers on a rally we’d never done before. We just had to survive and we ended up finishing second to Nasser Al-Attiyah, an absolute legend. That was an amazing result.”

Rally Hungary, fourth (18 points): “Hungary was another brand-new rally and unbelievably tricky conditions. It was a survival rally and we knew we had to be clever again and a podium would secure it. We drove consistently throughout the rally, Ross and myself were just so focused, we couldn’t have done any better. We had two unlucky punctures, I have no idea how we got them, but, in the end, Alexey also did. Dropping to fourth from third with a puncture on the final stage was just catastrophic for us, we were devastated to think we’d lost by just one position. But then shortly after Alexey arrived and he had a puncture. There was so much confusion if he’d won or if we’d won. It took 20 mins to find out, but in the end, it was confirmed. That 20 minutes felt like a lifetime but it was just a moment we’ll never forget and an amazing moment in rallying as well. I’m still reliving that moment now, it’s amazing.”

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA