Chris Ingram’s FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) campaign got off to a strong points-scoring start in Latvia, when he finished sixth in the ERC Junior category in his PEUGEOT 208 ‘R2’ rally car. The talented 20-year old Manchester-based driver was competing against 15 other ERC Junior drivers, many of whom are from the local Baltic states and Scandinavia and who have vastly more experience of driving with studded tyres on icy forest gravel roads. Yet Chris and his French co-driver Gabin Moreau never let the ice masters get out of sight. In fact Chris twice set the third fastest stage time (on SS5 and SS10) in his Union Flag liveried PEUGEOT 208 – only beaten over those slippery winter stages by a Latvian and a Swedish driver.
The conditions for this year’s Rally Liepāja were the most challenging anyone has ever seen, with thawing ice and slippery wet snow on day one and heavy blizzards of snow and freezing fog on day two. Despite skidding off the road once into a field on SS7, losing 90 seconds as spectators helped the PEUGEOT Financial Services and TOTAL Lubricants supported car back onto the road, Chris completed all 11 stages to achieve his aim of a good points-scoring finish.
Speaking at the end of Rally Liepāja, Chris commented: “Finishing sixth is not quite the result we wanted but these have been some of the most difficult stages I have ever done in my life and it’s been an incredible experience. I wanted to start the ERC Junior season off with a good points-scoring finish and against strong local and Scandinavian competition who have more experience of rallying on snow, that’s exactly what we’ve done. The next three rounds in Ireland, Azores and Ypres are my strongest rallies of the series, so the championship for us really starts in Belfast on Easter Bank Holiday weekend [2-4 April], where we’ll be aiming for ERC Junior victory.
Rally Liepāja has been an incredible experience, the PEUGEOT 208 ‘R2’ is absolutely brilliant to drive and I’m learning all the time in it. I’d like to thank PEUGEOT UK for giving me this incredible opportunity to compete in the ERC Junior Championship. It’s been a good start, and I’m looking forward to our next event, in better conditions - on Tarmac.