PEUGEOT UK will compete in the remainder of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) with young British driver Chris Ingram. The 20-year-old will race in the remaining five rounds of this year’s FIA ERC Junior Championship at the wheel of a 208 R2. He is hoping to lift the title and use his success to follow in the wheel tracks of former world rally champions Colin McRae and Richard Burns, and more recently Kris Meeke – who all made their name at the wheel of PEUGEOT cars.
Manchester-born ace Ingram will be supported by PEUGEOT Financial Services in the FIA ERC Junior Championship, a category within the European Rally Championship for drivers born on or after January 1st 1988. It will see Chris competing in Northern Ireland, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, and the Czech Republic between the beginning of April and end of August. The aim is to move up to the R5 category four-wheel drive PEUGEOT 208 T16, which is a clear steppingstone to competing in the World Rally Championship. With a learning year under his belt in 2014, Chris Ingram said:
20 of Europe’s best young drivers will be in Northern Ireland to compete, so it is going to be a brilliant challenge. I've led the rally on both occasions I’ve competed, but I hope to control it this time and finish with a top result. We will fight, however the championship is more important to me. It’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. There are some very fast drivers to compete against.It’s hard to say who is going to be in the running for the title at this stage. One thing’s for sure: each round will have local specialists who are always difficult to beat because they’ve grown up driving in the specific conditions.
Chris has already made a solid start to his campaign. In the first round in Latvia, he finished sixth on snow, a surface he had limited experience of. Now he’s looking to do even better. He said: “Based on my experience from 2014 I think the next three rallies could be good for us.” The first of these is the Circuit of Ireland (2nd – 4th April). Ingram said:
Last year I was leading the rally, the first time I’d run at the front in the ERC, and it was going brilliantly. I was driving the stage of my life, every corner was inch perfect. Then my co-driver called: “Max left over crest.” Except it wasn’t max and it was a full-on jump, not just a crest! We took off at 100mph and after that we were just passengers in the most violent crash I’ve ever had. I remember getting out and I was so full of adrenaline I was asking spectators to help push the car off its roof so we could get going again. Then one of them pointed out the wheels were hanging off! The Rally Azores in Portugal is a marathon rather than a sprint. You have to avoid punctures and save the suspension. Last year I finished second so I know I can do well there. The Ypres Rally in Belgium looks straightforward but it uses raised-up farm tracks so it requires a different driving technique. I was third last year, so again, I know a good result is within my grasp.
In 2014, Chris, along with co-driver Gabin Moreau, finished sixth overall in the ERC Junior Championship. However, on the way he picked up the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy for his commitment at the wheel. He also won the R2 class in the Wales Rally GB. “With the PEUGEOT 208 R2, I’ve got the perfect car for the job,” he said. “Now it’s up to me to prove that PEUGEOT was right to put its faith in me.”