Having watched his Toksport Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo dangle on the end of a crane cable in Greece, Chris Ingram knows only too well that his chances of this year’s WRC2 Junior title sit in a similar position right now.
Leading the title going into the Acropolis Rally, Ingram knew a solid result would leave him in a strong position to lift his second FIA title in four years (following his 2019 European Rally Championship win). Then Saturday morning happened and things changed. Radically.
“I got confused with the note,” Ingram told DirtFish. “I thought the corner was faster than it was. We actually went off the road at fairly slow speed, but as soon as we tipped over the edge, it wasn’t looking good
“It was a hell of a shock, we just kept on rolling and then the car caught fire briefly. We were pretty lucky in so many ways – not least that we weren’t upside down with the doors jammed shut. Because we were so far off the road, it would have been really hard for anybody to spot us.”
Ingram has long since shoved such thoughts from his mind. His focus is now firmly on getting to Spain and seeing off Emil Lindholm in a straight race to the title.
“I honestly don’t think the car was too badly damaged,” he said. “Mad as it sounds, we just kept on rolling down the hill – there were no big bangs or massive impacts. OK, just about every panel has damage, but I think the engine and transmission should be OK.”
As is often the case, recovering the car could have done as much damage as the initial shunt. That was certainly the case for Ingram.
“I was absolutely fine after the crash,” he said. “Craig [Drew, co-driver] and I sat in the car for a moment then got out. Unfortunately, while I was getting the door open, I managed to bend my fingers right back the wrong way and strained all the ligaments in them.
“They’ll be fixed for Spain. Now what I have to focus on getting the budget sorted for Spain.
“This crash really hasn’t helped, but the title’s there and I want it. I won’t give up on fighting for this one.”
Despite having been around the sport for a decade, it’s easy to forget the 28-year-old is still new to the WRC – Greece was only his 20th start at rallying’s highest level.
In his second year of a Rally2 program, Ingram’s pace has stepped up admirably, especially against team-mates like Andreas Mikkelsen and Lindholm who are covering thousands of miles of testing this season. Ahead of the Acropolis, Ingram bagged around 15 miles of running aboard his Fabia.
“It is tricky sometimes to know you’re fighting with drivers who are getting more seat time,” said Ingram.
“My biggest priority is to get into the position that they’re in – in the meantime, I keep on fighting with what I’ve got. I’m so grateful to the team and to CarFinance 247, I wouldn’t be here without them. I’ve fought for everything my whole life and I’m not about to stop now.
“See you in Spain.”