A gritty performance from Buckinghamshire’s Tom Ingram saw him claim a brace of point-scoring finishes on a difficult weekend for his team, Speedworks Motorsport, in round two of the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park.
Speedworks travelled to Donington with high hopes after a superb top 10 hat-trick in the Brands Hatch curtain-raiser a fortnight earlier, and their belief only grew when Ingram lapped eighth and seventh-fastest in the two free practice sessions behind the wheel of the team’s significantly upgraded Toyota Avensis.
However, changes made ahead of qualifying in a bid to squeeze some extra performance from the car failed to pay off and then, to compound matters, red flags twice scuppered Ingram’s effort as he qualified way down in 16th.
Despite carrying 21kg of success ballast from Brands Hatch, the 21-year-old British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) SuperStar worked his way up to 12th over the opening laps of race one in the ITV4 live-televised event before falling away and finishing 16th.
From 18th on the grid in the second encounter, Ingram advanced four spots on the first lap alone, and thereafter spent much of the race duelling with three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx, with the 21-year-old finishing 13th.
The Bucks ace then continued to showcase his obvious talent with another determined drive in race three, resulting in 10th place.
“Everybody here was buzzing after Brands Hatch and targeting another step forwards at Donington,” reflected the team’s principal Christian Dick. “We showed promising pace throughout practice, but then when we tried some changes to loosen the car up a bit and make it edgier for qualifying, the balance wasn’t quite right and Tom struggled with the handling.
“We were on the wrong end of just three tenths-of-a-second, but the championship is so close and competitive this year that you simply can’t afford that kind of time loss.
“We left Donington understandably disappointed with the results, but with no damage and still an awful lot of positivity and excitement about the potential of this car.
“You have to remember that the Avensis is very new and we’ve done minimal testing. It’s early days, and there are plenty of races to come.
“The plan is to get some testing in before the next round at Thruxton. We proved our one-lap pace there last year with fifth on the grid, and having hopefully resolved the tyre troubles that plagued us throughout 2014, we return in the knowledge that we have a competitive package at our disposal – and fully intending to make the most of it.”
The next round takes place this weekend.