Chris Ingram has finished an important debut rally with Opel Motorsport and new codriver Kat Becker on a high, finishing in 2nd position on the Circuit of Ireland Rally – the opening round of the 2016 FIA Junior European Rally Championship.
Driving one of the three works Opel Adam R2’s for the first time, Chris had a challenging Day 1 attempting to learn the new car and build speed in difficult wet conditions. Driving an un-familiar car flat-out wasn’t the only obstacle, he also had to find his rhythm with new codriver Kat, and work with his new technical team Opel Motorsport to boost driving confidence for optimum performance. A cautious start paid off as the duo sat in a solid 4th position overnight.
21 year old Ingram was determined to prove a point going into Day 2 of the 210 kilometre rally. On the mornings opening two stages, Chris & Kat made a complete turn around in confidence and set fastest time on each stage, and by mid-day service they had climbed into 2nd position.
The Andrews Heat for Hire backed Opel Adam certainly brought back a few memories of the local spectators, over 30 years on from when the Andrews’ backed Opel Manta was powered through the very same Circuit of Ireland stages by 3x winner Russell Brookes.
The legendary ‘Hamilton’s Folly’ stage added more drama when the heavens opened and covered the tarmac with hail stones, another unique challenge on slick tyres! Chris and Kat set another fastest time on the penultimate stage, and secured a deserved 2nd position on the final stage finishing the event just 11.5 seconds behind Junior winner Lucasz Pieniazek (25, Poland) and just ahead of team mate Marijan Griebel (26, Germany) in 3rd.
Opel Motorsport director Jörg Schrott commented;
“A one-two-three win at the season’s first race – what more could one want? A huge compliment goes to Chris for his excellent first race with us. Especially on the second leg he made big strides. Really looking forward to second round on the Azores where Chris did an amazing job last year.”
Speaking to Chris before podium celebrations he commented; “It’s a dream start to this new chapter! It was another fantastic Circuit of Ireland Rally, some of the best tarmac stages I’ve ever driven, made even more challenging with such changeable weather conditions.
For my first time in the awesome Adam R2, and with Kat codriving, I accepted I had to learn and try to finish this tough event, but to come away with 2nd is a massive bonus and puts us in a brilliant championship position going to the Azores!
Danke! to the Opel Motorsport team for preparing an awesome car and team environment, and thanks to Kat for doing such a great job codriving for me for the first time under pressure. I would also like to thank my title partner for the event Andrews Sykes – Andrews Heat for Hire, and everyone who has supported and encouraged us on the way to this result. Bring on the Azores!”
Opel Motorsport; http://www.opel-motorsport.com/rallye/adac-opel-rallye-junior-team
Title Partner; Andrews Sykes http://www.andrews–sykes.com/
Opel Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIUffm4diMs
Contact: Michael Jenkins (Motorsport Media) http://chris-ingram.co.uk/