20th August 2021

Tom Ingram played his cards to perfection in the latest BTCC outing at Knockhill, pulling off what former champion Tim Harvey described as the ‘move of the season’ to fight his way to a brilliant third victory of 2021.

A solid tenth in his Ginsters EXCELR8 with Hyundai i30N in the opening contest north of the border was followed by a sixth in the second bout.

That left Ingram fourth on the partially-reversed grid for the day’s finale, and in front of the live ITV4 television cameras, he immediately went on the attack. Having relieved Senna Proctor of third at McIntyres on lap one, he set about chasing down double champion Jason Plato and Stephen Jelley ahead.

After exploiting an error by the former to squeeze through into second, the two-time BTCC Independents’ title-winner turned his attentions to Jelley, moving to the outside approaching the hairpin on lap 17 to lull his rival into a false sense of security, before changing direction at the last possible moment and diving to the inside to sensationally snatch the lead.

It was a millimetre-perfect pass that laid the foundations for Ingram’s 19th career triumph in the UK’s premier motor racing series – a result that keeps him solidly in the hunt for the coveted Drivers’ crown, just 14 points adrift of the summit of the standings in second place at the midway stage of the campaign.

“I’ve got to say, the Hyundai felt phenomenal in race three – the best car I’ve ever driven around Knockhill,” said Ingram. “My engineer ‘Spenny’ and the whole EXCELR8 team are doing an amazing job with the i30N, and it just did everything I wanted it to do. I managed to catch Proctor napping at the start, and then Jason [Plato] did all the hard work for me when he ran wide a few laps later.

“I could see I was a little bit better than Stephen [Jelley] on the brakes into the hairpin so I spent a few laps trying to suss out my best option, knowing I would probably only get one shot at him. I’d been lining the move up for a few laps building up to it, and when the opportunity arose, I didn’t need a second invitation. I was well-chuffed with that!

“It was awesome to take our third victory of the season, although it wasn’t all plain sailing. We had a few electrical gremlins in the car, which meant I had to lift off the throttle each time I changed gear – and you change gear quite frequently at Knockhill! We also had a slight misfire, which cost us some straight-line speed, and the dashboard kept lighting up like a Christmas tree with alarms constantly telling me I had either high or low fuel pressure – I genuinely wasn’t sure we would finish the race.

“Still, we made it and it was great to finish the weekend on a high. After the points we haemorrhaged at Oulton Park, it was critical to score well at Knockhill and to come to a rear wheel-drive track with a lot of weight on-board, win a race and stay second overall, yeah, I’ll definitely take that. Better still, our toughest circuits are now theoretically out of the way, so hopefully we can knuckle down from here and really crack on!” © 2024
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