Chris Ingram has moved up to second in the FIA European Junior Rally Championship, after finishing third on the Circuit of Ireland (2nd - 4th April) in his PEUGEOT UK 208 ‘R2’. This year’s event was held over 18 fast and bumpy stages in counties Antrim and Down – and the changeable weather made the notoriously tricky event even more difficult. Rain made the road surface wet and muddy on day one, and whilst conditions dried on day two, there was still plenty of damp patches to catch out even the most experienced drivers.
Co-driven by Gabin Moreau, Ingram maintained a no-risk strategy throughout the event – which was ultimately rewarded with a great podium result. Despite driving well within his capabilities, the talented 20-year old Manchester-based driver was initially fourth, before moving up to third after SS3. Day two began with two fastest stage times (SS9 and 10), which briefly moved him up to second place. SS11 was a particularly difficult stage, where carrying high-speed through the shiny corners could easily jeopardise a good result. Ingram resisted the temptation to push too hard and risk undoing all his good work, and hence dropped back to third after this stage – a position he maintained until the finish at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. After over 130 miles of timed competition and 2hrs 13mins 55.5secs behind the steering wheel, Ingram finished the event without a scratch on his PEUGEOT UK, PEUGEOT Financial Services and TOTAL Lubricants supported 208. Indeed, the distinctive, two-toned, textured black and high-gloss red ‘Coupe Franche’ colour scheme was as pristine at the finish as it had been at the start!
Speaking immediately after the finish of the Circuit of Ireland Rally, Chris commented: “I’m pleased to have finished third in ERC Juniors on the Circuit of Ireland. It was a very difficult event, but we didn’t take any unnecessary risks, weren’t driving on the limit and had no moments, yet we were still the first PEUGEOT home, so I’m quite happy with that. We didn’t do a lot of testing before the event and we experimented with the car’s set-up throughout the rally. The podium result highlights the real potential of the 208 R2, so it’s important now to really work hard with the team and prepare well for the next rally in the Azores (4th – 6th June).
I’m delighted to have moved up to second in the ERC Junior championship. We’ve had two good points-scoring results on the first two rounds, one on the snow and ice in Latvia and another on the fast Tarmac of Northern Ireland, so it shows that the 208 is good on all types of surfaces. Azores is a gravel rally and we’ll go there looking to increase our points tally. I’d like to think our first ERC Junior win for PEUGEOT isn’t too far away.
Ireland’s Craig Breen claimed the overall victory on the Circuit of Ireland Rally, achieving a childhood ambition by adding his name to the illustrious list of event winners in his Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16. The win also gives Breen the lead in the FIA European Rally Championship, after 3 of 10 rounds.