Chris Ingram knows he will have to drive the rally of his life to land the £100,000 on offer for the ERC Junior U27 title at this week’s Rally Liepaja in Latvia.
Ingram won the opening two rounds of the European Rally Championship’s junior category before his Opel Adam R2 hit trouble on the next two. A third last time out on the Rally di Roma dropped him to second in the standings, two points behind the Czech Republic driver Filip Mares.
Mares, Ingram, Jari Huttunen and Aleks Zawada are the four drivers in with a shot at the title, with recently announced Hyundai Motorsport development driver Huttunen and Zawada 11 and 18 points off the lead respectively.
“It’s winner takes all,” Ingram told Motorsport News. “It’s very simple, very straightforward and I like that – there’s no complicated maths or no driving for a result. We’ve got to be absolutely flat-out from the very beginning and we’ve got to bring it home at the front. We’ve got nothing to lose. Nothing that is except for £100,000! I need to clear my head and go for it.”
Ingram has identified Huttunen as the driver he expects to be the strongest on the ERC season finale, which begins tomorrow (October 6)
“Beating Huttunen would be the best thing ever for me,” continued Ingram. “Having him as my team-mate has been great this year, there’s a lot of talk about him and a lot of hype and being able to match yourself against him is really good.”
Landing the title would mean the vital step up to an R5 car for next season and the chance to finally break out of ERC and into the WRC2 category.
“I want to be in an R5 car next year,” said Ingram. “I have to be. It’s the only place for me and I’m absolutely determined to get there. If we win the prize then we would use the money then we would use it to do a series of events building up to the final two WRC2 events of the season – where I intend to show what I can do.”
Ingram will also contest this year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB in the same car he has driven all season, with backing from Network Q. The Opel Adam will be rebadged as a Vauxhall, however.