The young British driver Chris Ingram has put up an incredible battle in this year’s European Rally Championship – not only against the other competitors, but also against a tight budget and huge pressure. There were moments when things seemed hopeless, but in the end, he overcame all obstacles and in Hungary, he used his ŠKODA FABIA R5 to secure the championship title. In this interview, he shared both his feelings about this year’s nerve-racking season and his plans for the next year.
You have achieved a great success this season. How difficult was it?
It has been incredibly difficult, due to a lack of funding which put immense pressure on me. I went into every rally knowing any crash would be the end of my career.
What role did your FABIA R5 play in it, in your opinion?
Toksport prepared the FABIA R5 perfectly. We had no technical issues for the whole season. The car is fast and efficient and played a huge part in our success.
What were the toughest and brightest moments of the season 2019 for you?
The toughest moment of the year has to be missing out on the junior title by 0.3 of a second at the Czech Barum Rally. Obviously the brightest has to be winning the title in Hungary! I have learned a lot this season; I‘ve improved my driving and I‘ve not even slightly damaged the ŠKODA FABIA R5 since I began driving it, seventeen rallies ago. This shows that, given the opportunity, there’s even more speed and more potential to unlock.
How do you evaluate the support from ŠKODA Motorsport?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with a ŠKODA Motorsport engineer, Sergio, who has been an amazing asset to the team and to me. I have learned so much about the car in relation to improving my driving technique as a result of his input. I hope to be more involved with ŠKODA Motorsport in the future as I really believe I could benefit the brand.
What are your plans and goals for the next season?
I’m working on moving to the WRC – to win the ERC and WRC 2 back to back is the goal!
What does rallying mean to you?
Achieving your dreams and greatest passion in life, and having that talent recognised – is there anything better than that? That is why I do it and will continue to for as long as I am able. It’s who I am.
How did your rally career start?
I began my European adventure in a Renault Twingo in 2014, earning the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy on the Circuit of Ireland, on my second appearance in the championship, which ultimately ended in a huge crash. A chance with Peugeot UK followed before I was recruited by the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. I won the 2017 ERC Junior title and stepped up to drive for Toksport WRT in a ŠKODA FABIA R5 in 2018 for my debut season driving a four wheel drive rally car.
How old were you when you first drove a car?
At 13 I was driving a classic Mini Cooper.
Is there any rally driver who was your role model when you were a kid?
Sebastian Ogier – I met him at 15 and to this day he is still a great role model and champion.
How do you celebrate victories with your co-driver Ross Whittock and your team?
We work hard, we live the dream and try to enjoy every moment. We are always striving to win more titles and we will win them.
Do you have any Christmas message for rally fans?
Thank you for the incredible support this year – and to rally fans across the globe, have an amazing Christmas and I hope to see you in 2020!