Peugeot UK driver Chris Ingram says that the opening round of the FIA ERC Junior Championship was “an incredible experience” as he finished Rally Liepāja in a good points-scoring sixth in his 208 R2.
The talented 20-year old Manchester-based driver was competiting against 15 other ERC Junior drivers, many of whom were from the local Baltic states and Scandinavia, and who had vastly more experience of driving with studded tyres on icy forest gravel roads.
Yet Ingram 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 10) in his Union Flag liveried Peugeot – beaten over those slippery winter stages by a Latvian and a Swedish driver!
Despite skidding off the road and into a field on SS7, and losing 90 seconds as spectators helped the Peugeot Financial Services and TOTAL Lubricants supported car back onto the road, Ingram completed all 11 stages to achieve his aim of a good points-scoring finish.
“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,” said Ingram. “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 even on Tarmac.”