Speedworks Motorsport produced a sparkling performance on home soil as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship stopped off at Oulton Park, with local boy Tom Ingram clinching a popular clean sweep of Independents’ Trophy triumphs.
This year has already been a milestone campaign for Speedworks in the ITV4 live-televised BTCC with Ingram dominating the Brands Hatch curtain-raiser to snare his and the team’s maiden victory.
That outstanding raw pace was in evidence again at Oulton as the 22-year-old led the way in both free practice sessions behind the wheel of the Northwich, Cheshire-based outfit’s #80 Toyota Avensis.
His efforts to take a third pole position of 2016 were stymied by brake problems and traffic, but Ingram still wound up an eminently respectable fourth, a scant 0.078 seconds adrift of top spot.
The Bucks ace dropped to seventh early in race one but soon worked his way back up to take fifth, a result he matches in his next outing.
In front of a capacity crowd, Ingram began the final encounter from the second row of the reversed grid and fought tooth and nail to finish on the podium, only to miss out by less than a tenth-of-a-second.
Nonetheless, the result still completed a full house of Independent victories – extending Ingram’s 2016 total to four, more than anybody else – and equalled the 22-year-old’s best-ever BTCC points tally as he climbed into the top ten in the overall Drivers’ standings.
“I’m really chuffed,” said Ingram afterwards. “I think we did a cracking job.
“We were always going to struggle a bit against the rear wheel-drive boys at Oulton and it didn’t quite come together in qualifying, which was partly me not hooking all the sectors up and partly due to traffic.
“Although our perfect lap would have put us on pole, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure we had the speed to stay there in Sunday’s hotter conditions.
“I gave myself a mountain to scale in race one after the start. We had a real cat-and-mouse scrap with Sutton and then it was great to pip Lloyd at the flag – when we began the last lap two seconds behind, I never thought that would be possible.
“The third race was a bit livelier. We knew the soft tyres would drop off towards the end, but we hung on for as long as we could and very nearly made it.
“I fought as hard as possible and whilst it would have been nice to come away with an outright podium, I was more than happy to take another top five finish.
“We ran up at the sharp end all weekend and achieved three really strong results entirely on merit – and that’s precisely the kind of performance we’ve been targeting all season.”